High tea and buffet are two popular dining choices that are frequently confused with one another. 

While both provide a wide selection of food, they vary in their timing, presentation, and setting. In this post, we’ll explain the key differences between high tea and buffet.


A buffet is a self-service meal where people are permitted to serve themselves from a range of food items displayed on tables. 

It can be a formal or casual dining option and is frequently served for lunch, breakfast, or dinner.

Food items in the buffet are arranged on long stations or tables, with every station providing a diverse category of food like appetizers, salads, desserts, main courses, and beverages. 

The presentation of the food in a buffet is created to be visually tempting and appealing, with an emphasis on quantity and variety.

Buffets are typically open for a set period, typically 2-3 hours, during which people are free to come and go and try as many things as they want.

Buffets can be set up in numerous settings, comprising weddings, restaurants, hotels, and other occasions. 

They are frequently utilized for large gatherings, like family gatherings, corporate events, and weddings.

High Tea:

High tea is a formal, elegant, and customary British meal that is typically served in the early evening or late afternoon. 

It originated in the mid-nineteenth century as a meal for the working class who came home exhausted and hungry and required something substantial to consume.

In high tea, food is presented on a 3-tiered tray, with the bottom one reserved for savory sandwiches, the middle one for scones, and the top tier for pastries and cakes. 

The food presentation in high tea is designed to be chic, with an emphasis on taste and quality.

High tea is offered at a set time, typically between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, and is supposed to be a light repast that can be enjoyed before dinner.

High tea is frequently offered in elegant hotels, fine dining restaurants, and tearooms and is frequently reserved for special events like anniversaries, birthdays, and weddings.

Differences Between High Tea And Buffet:

One of the main differences between high tea and the buffet is the type of meal that is offered. 

The buffet is a self-service meal where people can pick from a range of dishes that are displayed on a table or at numerous tables. 

The dishes might comprise main dishes, appetizers, desserts, side dishes, and beverages. A buffet is frequently utilized for large gatherings, like corporate events, conferences, or weddings.

High tea, on the other hand, is a formal meal that is offered in the early evening or late afternoon. 

High tea usually comprises a selection of scones with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches, pastries, cakes, and a range of tea blends. 

High tea is frequently associated with English traditions and is offered in hotels, upscale restaurants, and tearooms.

Another disparity between high tea and the buffet is the way the food is offered. In a buffet, people serve themselves by getting a plate and helping themselves to the dishes available. 

In contrast, high tea is usually served by the wait staff that brings out individual servings of every food item to each person at the table.

High tea and buffet also differ in terms of presentation. Buffet typically involves large displays of food items, with trays and platters arranged on tables for people to help themselves. 

In contrast, high tea is frequently presented in a more refined and elegant manner, with delicate china, table linens, and silverware.

Lastly, the price of high tea and buffet can also differ greatly. A buffet is frequently less costly and more casual, while high tea is contemplated as a more expensive and luxurious experience.

Overall, both high tea and buffet provide unique dining experiences with their own distinct pros and cons. 

The choice between the two eventually depends on the budget, occasion, and personal preferences of the host and guests.

Frequently Asked Questions Section:

Q: Can I Expect A Range Of Food Choices In High Tea? 

Yes, high tea typically comprises a range of food choices, like savory sandwiches, cakes, scones, and pastries.

Q: Is High Tea The Same As Afternoon Tea? 

No, afternoon tea and high tea aren’t the same. Afternoon tea is a light meal usually offered between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM, while high tea is a more substantial meal offered between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM.

Q: Can I Try As Many Food Items As I Desire In High Tea? 

Yes, high tea is usually offered in small portions, permitting guests to try as many food items as they want.

Q: Is Buffet Suitable For Formal Occasions? 

Buffet can be appropriate for formal occasions if it’s presented in a visually appealing and stylish manner. However, it’s more commonly utilized for large or casual gatherings.

Q: Can I Request Special Dietary Accommodations For High Tea? 

Yes, a lot of hotels and restaurants that provide high tea will accommodate special dietary requests like gluten-free, vegetarian, or dairy-free choices. It is always great to tell them in advance.

Q: What’s The Appropriate Dress Code For High Tea? 

The appropriate dress code for high tea is typically formal attire or smart casual, depending on the occasion and setting.

Q: Are Reservations Essential For High Tea? 

Yes, reservations are usually needed for high tea as it’s a well-liked dining experience. It is great to book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.

Q: How Long Does High Tea Usually Last? 

High tea typically lasts for about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the number of guests and the number of courses.

Q: Can I Bring My Own Food To A Buffet? 

It relies on the particular rules of the establishment hosting a buffet. In general, it is not right to bring your own food to the buffet as it is intended for the food offered by the host.

Q: Can Kids Attend High Tea? 

Yes, a lot of places that provide high tea also have special menus for kids, with smaller portions and kid-friendly food choices. However, it is always great to check in advance to ensure kids are welcome.


In conclusion, high tea and buffet are two distinct dining choices that vary in their timing, presentation, and setting. 

A buffet is a self-service meal that provides a wide variety of food, while high tea is an elegant and formal meal that is offered at a set time. 

Comprehending the differences between these two dining choices will assist you in selecting the correct one for the occasion.