The term "high tea" is often misused by those who like to gild afternoon tea to make it seem exclusive and refined.
Consequently, both consumers and dispensers of tea often mistakenly tack the word "high" onto what should be simply called tea or afternoon tea.
Although often confused with afternoon tea, high tea is not a dainty affair, neither is it synonymous with highbrow. The distinction is important if you wish to convey a certain degree of sophistication. High tea is NOT finger sandwiches, scones and sweets. That, of course is tea or afternoon tea.
High tea is a hearty, simple and sit down meal that originated during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. High tea was the main meal of the day for workers who returned home very hungry after a long, hard day in the fields.
Everything is placed on the table, family style, and dishes are passed from person to person. The menu offers hot or cold hearty and traditional foods such as meat pies, steak and kidney pies, sausage, cold meats, breads, cheese, desserts, fruits and tea.