Although we tend to associate dainty cucumber sandwiches and scones with afternoon tea, there is no set menu and it really depends on the time of year, the setting, and personal tastes. Sandwiches and scones are standard fare but other choices can include muffins, crumpets, bread and butter, cakes, cookies (biscuits), gingerbread, pastries, fruit, and a selection of jams and jellies, preserves, lemon curd and Devon clotted cream.
Taking center stage, of course, is the tea, preferably choice loose leaf tea. Served from a teapot, the brewing of the tea is very important. First, rinse your teapot with warm water. Next, bring a kettle of water to boil and pour it over the tea leaves, letting it steep for three to five minutes. The general rule is one heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup of water, plus one teaspoon “for the pot”, however nothing is more personal than your cup of tea so by all means adjust the tea leaves to suit your taste.