Traditionally, High Tea in England referred to the dinner of the working class eaten between 5 pm and 7 pm. It was also known as “meat tea” and “tea time.” Many restaurants and hotels use “High Tea” to describe what we know in the UK as Afternoon Tea for tourist purposes as many countries use “Afternoon Tea” to describe a casual break for tea in the afternoon. Very few establishments different between afternoon tea and high tea by offering a meat based pie or similar more hearty dish with afternoon tea.
High Tea was first used in the early 19 Century to describe a meal consisting of a hot dish, cakes and bread served with butter and jam. High doesn’t refer to the meal being served on high stalls, but to the advanced time of day at which High Tea is served.
The arrival to tea in the UK is arguable the most important consideration in the invention of Tea. Tea arrived in England in the 17th Century but it wasn’t until the 19th Century that the country had become the avid tea drinkers they are today.