The World’s Most Extravagant Afternoon Tea Services

These lavish afternoon tea services are much more than hot water…

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The origins of afternoon tea are truly decadent. It was 1840 and the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, faced a quandary: Every afternoon, sometime between lunch and dinner, she found herself famished. The agonizing wait for her next meal was too much, and so the royal Brit initiated the practice of taking sweet cakes and savory sandwiches with her daily pot of tea. Today, luxury hotels offer afternoon tea in a manner Russell would have most certainly approved of, serving elaborate treats—from caviar and Champagne to macarons and eclairs—that no doubt make the tea itself seem like an afterthought. Here, we uncover seven luxurious tea services around the world that make for a most extravagant late-afternoon indulgence.