Hosting a tea party with gourmet teas

Hosting a Tea Party with Gourmet Teas

Tea parties are serene, enjoyable events during which you can share great conversation, food, and gourmet teas with your friends and loved ones.  Tea parties often remain in the memories of guests for years to come because they allow everyone to take a break from their busy lives for unhurried conversation and soul nurturing.  The elements of a successful tea party include providing a variety of delicious gourmet teas, a charming party theme, and a delicious menu, to name a few.  In order to ensure that your tea party is the best that it can be, plan ahead of time.  Planning and preparation are key factors to the success of your party.

The Difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea

High tea and afternoon tea are often referred to as the same thing but the two are quite different from each other.  Afternoon tea is an elegant affair that takes place at around 3pm.  The food served is lighter and less filling and sometimes only dessert is served.  High tea is a full meal tea that was often enjoyed by the British working class.  The food served was much heavier than the scones and tea sandwiches that we now associate with tea parties.

Why You Should Host a Tea Party

If you want to host a party for your friends or family but do not want it to be as formal as a dinner party, a tea party is a good solution.  Tea parties are perfect for celebrating a baby shower, bridal shower, retirement, or birthday.  You could also have a tea party just to catch up with your friends.  The food for a tea party is prepared prior to the event.  You can serve it buffet style or you can pass plates of food around the table during the party.  Tea parties are nice because they give hosts the time to relax with their guests.  The only thing you have to do during a tea party is prepare and serve tea.  Whether you want to host a tea party at a fancy hotel or receive guests at home with just a pot of tea and biscuits, tea parties can be celebrated in a variety of ways, from casual to formal.

Tea Serving Tips

Tea bags are generally of lesser quality than loose leaf gourmet teas so at your tea party, serve only the latter.  A full tea is a tea party that consists of three courses of scones, muffins, or fruit, tea sandwiches, and then desserts.  On the other hand, a light tea only consists of pastries or dessert, and fruit.

Prior to serving tea in your tea pot, warm it up with hot water from your faucet.  Your tea will stay warmer for longer that way.  Use approximately one rounded teaspoon of loose leaf gourmet teas per eight ounces of water.  If you prefer strongly flavored tea, simply add more tea to the pot.  Pour boiling water into the tea pot and let it steep for about five minutes.  Green, white, black, and oolong teas taste bitter if you let them steep for too long so your best bet is to steep them for around 1-2 minutes, max.  Place a strainer over each cup when you pour out the tea.  If you are making iced tea, simply double the amount of loose tea you use.

For proper tea etiquette, the hostess of the tea party should pour each guest tea and add sugar, lemon, or cream as requested.  The hostess should use a sugar tong to take sugar from the sugar bowl.  If you don’t plan to follow traditional tea etiquette and are instead going to have each person put sugar in their own tea, give each guest a demi-spoon, which is smaller than a regular teaspoon.  Since most people serve sugar cubes at tea parties, demi-spoons are often given to guests instead of regular teaspoons, which are only needed to measure out sugar.

The proper way to serve tea is for each guest to pass her cup to the hostess.  The hostess asks the guest how much sugar, lemon, etc. she would like and then places those items in the cup and a spoon on the saucer.  Then the hostess passes the cup and saucer back to the guest, who quietly stirs her tea.

In order to let your guests know how they should dress for your tea party, simply state on the invitation whether the party is formal or casual.  If you are planning your tea party around a theme, let your guests know about it in the invitation so they can dress accordingly.

Tea Party Theme

Although having a tea party theme is not necessary, it can lead to greater attendance.  If you are planning a tea party with many child guests, it is necessary to have a theme and activities because children will get bored very quickly just sitting around drinking tea and conversing.  Some adult theme party ideas include Mother’s Day, Christmas, and Fall Harvest.  Themes that are appropriate for children’s tea parties include Peter Rabbit, Dress Up, and Valentine’s Day.  For adult tea parties, your theme could even be as simple as selecting colors.

Tea Party Activities

You can plan some fun activities for your guests to break the ice, get everyone relaxed, and make sure that all of the guests have a good time.  Tea party activities/games could be as simple as having everyone sit in a circle and share something that they are grateful for.  Another activity you could do is read a famous quote.  Whoever guesses the author of the quote correctly wins a prize.

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