Devon vs Cornwall Cream Teas

Devon vs Cornwall Cream Tea Differences

Devonshire cream teas have been made with cream on the bottom and jam on top ever since their origin in Tavistock Abbey in Devon, where the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam began in the 11th century. This origin of the Cream Tea is disputed by the Cornish who believe the only way to serve a cream tea is with the cream on top.

Historically, there have been more variations between Cornish and Devon cream teas than just whether jam or cream is placed on top. In Cornwall, the cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of slightly sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. But nowadays the scones and clotted cream used throughout tearooms in both counties is very similar and therefore the main difference is how you choose to have it.

Devon vs Cornwall cream teas arguments for both -

For Devonshire Cream Teas:

  • Cream is like the butter, you wouldn’t put butter on jam.
  • It originates from when jam was expensive so you’d just have a bit to put on top.
  • You can get more cream on if you load it first!
  • It stops you getting cream on your nose. :) (jam on cream lays flatter???).
  • If you’re sharing a cream tea with a Cornishman (although unlikely!) you get first dibs on the cream.

For Cornish Cream Teas:

  • It’s easier to spread.
  • You can taste the cream better on top!
  • You wouldn’t put cream on the bottom of a fruit salad.

Personally, I think the great thing about cream teas is that almost everywhere gives you the choice so it shouldn’t be a Devon vs Cornwall debate but the focus should be on fresh locally produced ingredients, and definitely no whipped cream!

Our Great Cream Tea Poll

Between August 18 and March 19 over 1,000 internet user took our poll to decide which method is most popular, in theory these users were as unbiased as possible. Did the poll backfire with more people preferring the Cornish method 😬?

Cream Tea Debate Poll Results

Decide For Yourself Which Is Best

Cream Teas By Post Decide for yourself which is the best way of serving a cream tea with our cream teas by post delivered straight to your door the next working day.

See Also:

How to make the perfect Devonshire scone

Rodda's recipe for Cornish Splits


  • I’m from neither Devon nor Cornwall so as an outsider I have to say it makes no sense whatsoever putting cream on the top. It has to be cream THEN jam!

    Anastasia on

  • i used to live in babbacombe Torquay devon in the 1950s and always remember my mother making scones with jam and then cream on top if its right or wrong thats the way i like them and sod the right or wrong brigade it taste the same which ever way it is lol

    raymond fielding on

  • Obviously cream goes on top!!!! It’s the only way.

    Jamie on

  • I am Cornish so, of course, the cream MUST be on the the top.

    Pauline on

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