Hosting a Proper Tea Party
We Americans sometimes give the tea party a bad rap. In our minds, it’s often a stuffy affair designed for rich women who have nothing else to do all day. It’s the British version of the “ladies who lunch”. But, nothing could be further from the truth. A tea party is a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, host a wedding or baby shower, or just catch up with your girlfriends. Here are some tips for hosting the perfect tea party for your next special occasion. Pick a lovely invitation for your party for your tea party. My favorite is called “Sweet Tea”.
Afternoon tea is what you’ll likely serve for your tea party. High tea, while it sounds really regal, is a heartier version of tea served in the evening. It’s basically dinner with tea as the beverage. It’s called high tea because it’s served at a “high” or dining room table as opposed to afternoon tea, which is served in the living room at a tea table (low table). At afternoon tea, you’ll serve light fare along with one or two varieties of freshly brewed tea.
While a tea party needn’t be fussy, it should have an air of elegance and femininity. You’ll want to use pretty tablecloths, fresh flowers and china teacups for an elegant showing. This is the time to bring out your fine china, silver and linens. You can serve tea at your dining table or in your living room.
The traditional menu for afternoon tea includes an assortment of both sweet and savory items. Finger sandwiches, scones, muffins and small pastries are all good choices. I like to include finger sandwiches made from cream cheese, chicken salad and pimento cheese, but whatever you like is fine. Do try to avoid anything messy if you’re eating in the living room.
The tea is the main event at a tea party. For this reason, it’s important that you, as the hostess, know how to pour a proper pot of tea. Here are the basics.
First, choose good tea. Loose tea with an infuser is best. Any type and flavor is fine, just choose tea of high quality. Use fresh, cold water, filtered if your tap water isn’t great. Put the water in a clean kettle and put it on the stove to heat. While the water is heating, fill your teapot and your teacups with warm tap water.
When the kettle is ready, empty the tap water from your teapot, it should be nice and warm now. Add your loose tea; about one rounded teaspoon for each cup. Then fill your teapot with the hot water from the kettle. Black tea and oolong teas should be made with boiling water, but white and green teas are best made with water that is just about to boil.
Steeping for the proper amount of time is critical. Here’s a guide:
• Green tea – 1-2 minutes steeping time
• Black teas – 3-5 minutes steeping time
• Oolong teas – 2-3 minutes steeping time
Now, empty the tap water from your teacups and pour your tea. When serving tea, be sure to offer sugar, lemon and milk (never cream) for your guests. If milk is to be taken with your tea, it should be put in the cup before the tea.
A tea party is a simple and elegant way to enjoy the company of your friends. It’s a good party format for both adults and young girls and one that pleases guests time after time.
Browse www.myexpression.com today to view our tea party invitation selection!