Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served in teacups with milk and sugar. This is accompanied by various sandwiches such as cucumber or egg, sometimes smoked salmon and ham.  One of my favorite tea time delights is scones with butter and jam.  The food is often served on a tiered stand: there may be no sandwiches but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread.  While afternoon tea used to be an everyday event, nowadays it is more likely to be taken as a treat in a hotel, cafe or tea shoppe.  And although many British still have a cup of tea and slice of cake, biscuits or some chocolate at teatime.   While loose tea is much less common than teabags nowadays there is much more variety in the teas available for both applications.  I use loose tea when it's only one teapot, but if I have brewed several teapots, I use tea bags...just to keep it simple.