|Afternoon teas first became popular and fashionable in Victorian times. Although it was only considered as a light refreshment between lunch and dinner, afternoon tea was quite a serious occasion, and was reserved for upper social class ladies.
Tea, at first, was considered a medicine. Its legendary healing properties combined with an energetic boost have made tea the most popular beverage in the world, second only to water. Originally, it came from the mountains of southeast Asia and became widely enjoyed in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907) by mixing flavorings, such as ginger or salt, with shavings from a pressed brick of tea leaves. Although tea was introduced to Japan during this time, it was confined only to the aristocracy and Buddhist ceremonies.
在西方, 據說下午茶是開始於一位名叫 Anna Maria (1783-1857) 的女公爵。 生活在維多利亞女王的時代, 當時的貴族生活習慣是早上吃很豐盛的早餐, 中午吃得很簡單, 晚餐則延遲到八九點才開始。 結果這位女公爵發現每天到了五點左右就會覺得很累, 於是她想出一個點子, 叫僕人送上點心與茶, 而她喝了茶吃了點心之後便覺得好多了。 後來她的下午茶成為上流社會流行的風潮, 連維多利亞女王都開始喝下午茶了。 最後便成為全民的生活習慣。
至於在東方, 據說最早發現茶有提神功效的是一位和尚。 這個和尚住在山中, 每天誦經唸佛。 山裡面很安靜, 除了和尚就是一群到處覓食的猴子。過了一段時間, 和尚慢慢發現這些猴子每天會在特定的時間吃某種特定的乾草葉, 而且看起來很陶醉的樣子。 他覺得很好奇, 便也去摘了一點那種草葉, 摸在手上還有點油油的感覺。 和尚把乾葉子帶進屋中, 剛好壺上煮的水開了, 他就將葉子放在碗中, 把開水澆上去。 沒想到茶葉散發出一種醉人的芳香, 碗中的水也變成了琥珀色。 和尚很興奮, 端起碗來嚐了一口, 於是他喝到了第一杯能讓心靈放鬆的茶。