Tea time is one of my favorite parts of the day. I do love anything with espresso, (which certainly gets me through the day), but there is something to be said for sitting down for a leisurely cuppa.
A bit about the history of this iconic cultural tradition:
Tea drinking became fashionable in England after Charles II married Portugese Princess Catherine of Barganaza. She adored tea and introduced it to the royal court. At first, the British only had two daily meals, breakfast and dinner. Dinner was the heaviest meal of the day, and usually served in the afternoon. The custom of eating a regular "tea" began during the 1700's as people began serving dinner later and later in the evening. People started serving a light lunch in the early afternoon to fill the gap between breakfast and dinner, but this still left 6 hours between meals with no refreshment. For the aristocracy, or at least for the Dutchess Anna Maria of Bedford, 6 hours between meals was simply too long. She began to request a cup of tea and light snacks to be served around 5 pm, and then began to invite guests to join her. The custom of afternoon tea was born, and it spread like wildfire among the upper classes. Although the customs surrounding British tea time have changed, England's love for tea remains the same.
In NYC, one of my favorite tea rooms is Alice's Tea Cup. It is quite whimsical, and you can wear fairy wings if you want.... PERFECT.