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Tea parties?

Do you guys have tea parties/tea tastings for your friends? Have you introduced non tea drinkers to the wonderful beverage? If you’ve never held a tea party before, what’s a good way to introduce it to people? Do you have favorite foods that go with tea, or pair well with certain kinds? Just curious, since I love tea and having small parties for my friends.

27 Replies
Sarah select said

Great questions! I can’t weigh in on them yet since I’ll be hosting my first tea party in January. Hopefully we’ll get some answers in this thread. :)

Anyway, these two books have been a great source for themes as well as food and tea pairings: Tea Party (by Tracy Stern) and The Essential Tea Companion (from Victoria Magazine). I found both at my local library, which was great…more money for tea!

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I’m constantly forcing tea on friends, to the point where many have started their own loose leaf collections! haha! My family still hates tea and could probably fill a pool with the amount of coffee they drink, but that just means I don’t have to worry about anyone stealing my precious stash! haha

I’m dying to have a teddy bear tea party when my bff comes home for Christmas break!!! Teddy bears/stuffed animals, fancy dress, tea biscuits/cookies, and of course – lots and lots of tea! :D

My friends are the same way. I made the mistake of inviting them all to go to a tea convention on my bday and they were super bored. I had to leave early because they looked so miserable. They were considerate enough not to say anything but I could tell! Then I made another mistake and selected a Korean restaurant for lunch, but that’s another story.

I wish I could join you for your tea party! I can make tasty treats!

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As president of the st louis harp society (yes, it really exists, & I really am president, but it’s not a power trip type position in any way or form), I throw a tea party in my home every year, either late january or early february on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone brings something sweet or savory to share, so we end up with lots of little cuke sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, piles of hummus & veggies, nuts, chips, crackers, scones, deviled eggs, & lots & lots of dessert items. Everyone, regardless of age or talent, is expected to play at least one or 2 pieces on the harp (here we are, harpists, who play background music at every kind of event. You’d think we could have some pretty music for our event, right?). I lay out every bagged tea I have, with cups, spoons, plates, sweeteners, etc, so that anyone who wants to can steep their own cup. Then there is the samplings (my favorite part of the event). I have several tea pots, so I steep a variety of teas in succession: herbal, green, white, black, etc. I spend the afternoon walking around offering samples of various teas to anyone who will have them. It’s super fun, & I’ve awakened more than a few tea drinkers over the years.

Nicole said

That sounds great!

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Nicole said

I just had a Halloween tea party today at work. I only took 3 pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25072757@N04/8120786077/in/photostream

We have about 18 women in our office and usually between 10-12 attend a tea party. I make the treats and bring cups and teapots. I occasionally have someone offer to make something from the menu I have set up and that’s always a nice break for me. :) I try to do one every 2 months.

I usually do a black, a flavored green, a white and an herbal. I expanded today since we had a larger group (and since I was out of white) and did Silky Earl Grey from Teajo, Tangerine Blossom Red from Shang, Maple Pecan Oolong from Butiki, Double Berry Burst Green from Della Terra and Indian Spice Chai from Harney & Sons.

I had a lady today who attended for the first time. She is a recent hire and said to me “I don’t really like tea.” I told her to come anyway, I always have punch as well as tea for those who don’t like tea – and maybe she’d find something she liked. At the end of lunch she told me she really, really liked the Tangerine Blossom Red from Shang. She was completely floored that she liked a tea. :) I also had two ladies express interest in ordering the Indian Spice Chai from Harney and Sons the next time I placed an order.

I have had others over the past 5 years I’ve been doing this who have had “tea awakenings” as well. None of them made the jump to loose leaf tea, but they have gone out and gotten bagged versions. Baby steps. :)

I am also in a small group called the Chat & Chew Society and we have teas every month in someone’s home. But we are already all tea converts so it’s just more of a chance to chat and nom some tasty treats with good tea.

As far as what goes with what, Golden Moon Tea sent out an email a few weeks ago about pairing food with tea, but I think I deleted it. Maybe someone else has it still. I usually have a chicken salad finger sandwich of some kind. Chocolate is usually a good choice, especially with black teas. Earl Grey holds up well with dark chocolate in particular. Earl is also a good choice for non-tea people. It is one that most people seem to like, especially if you have an Earl blend with some vanilla. Starbucks has exposed a lot of people to chai, I think, also so that was a popular choice today with new and non-tea people.

What a great & beautiful spread!

Looks like a good party!

forsythia said

Those little sandwiches are too cute! Are they ghosts? You should have made them “finger” sandwiches. ha. That must have been a fun tea.

Nicole said

Yes, they are ghosts. The pumpkin bread was fingers. :P

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CupofTree said

For me, tea parties are just a relaxing chill time that isnt usually planned, it just happens. Since my friends already liked tea in the first place I guess thats why not much planning goes into it. Usually others bring desert items or different types of tea and since Im the one with the most tea, we usually try mine, and whatever we feel in the mood for. :) its just fun sharing your tea and awesome when its actually good! Im on a macaroon kick which go amazing with tea.
I like when tea time is personalized like this photo I took at a friends house where she decorated a sort of tea table on the bed made out of wood with various things on it. http://instagr.am/p/RBOHK8LPNp/

Nicole said

That is a very neat picture! How personal and intimate.

I love the pic! I love love love macaroons, they are the best cookie!

Macaroons or macarons? Either way, I <3 cookies __

CupofTree said

Thanks guys.
People seem to spell macaroons differently. Im talking about the french little colorful sandwich like pastries :)

Macaroons are a meringue based cookie of shredded coconut & or almonds, egg whites, & some sweetener. The French Macaron is different, like you mentioned it is 2 cookies (usually Meringues), with some decadent filling in between. I occasionally make homemade Macaroons, & even less often (but just as enjoyable) I make Macarons. They are both awesome with tea, & they are both easy to make.

CupofTree said

Yum! Im thinking about trying to make them too.

I love both kinds of cookie. I’ve made macarons on my blog, they aren’t as hard as they’re made out to be! http://www.adustingofsugar.com/2011/08/chocolate-macarons.html

CupofTree said
Rebecca those look awesome! Bookmarking and thanks for sharing!
Nicole said

Mm-hm. Those go on the list to try!

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ashmanra said

I have tea party day once a week at least, but it is very small! Usually there is just my friend, two of my daughters, and myself. Yes, the guest used to be just a coffee drinker. Nw she loves lots of kinds of tea. My bestie also drank tea with me about two years ago and I really couldn’t tell if she liked it, but next time she came over she asked if we were having tea again. Long story short, she is the one who just left two new tins of Lupicia tea as a surprise last week!

I just talked to one neighbor about tea, and she asked if my youngest daughter would serve as “barista” at a tea party for her. We supplied the tea, but now the neighbor orders lots and lots of tea from Harney and Sons!

Definitely, a huge part of my social life revolves around tea! It is a real ice breaker and conversation starter!

We love to serve cheese with tea, but today we had home made bread with fancy jams. Usually we have a cookie plate, or cake.

Nicole said

Cheese and homemade bread. Can’t go wrong with either of those!

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Uniquity said

My BFF got into tea around the same time I did – but not nearly at the same level. When he stops by we tend to have tea together but I don’t have enough friends or family in this area to do tea with, unfortunately. My grandmother will drink tea if I make it forher, but she likes stern black and earl greys. Nothing fancy and nothing flavoured – though she loves smelling them and pronouncing them undrinkable. : )

teataku said

I’m in mostly the same boat as you. My bestie drinks tea about as religiously as I do, but she lives about three hours away. We sometimes convene at a tearoom that’s about halfway between us (convenient, no?) and have tea together, but that’s about it. None of my other friends are tea drinkers (except for sweet tea, which doesn’t really count because EVERYONE down here drinks sweet tea unless they’re on a diet). The exception is my husband, and he and I have tea parties on occasion, sort of a date-night-in type of thing, where I make scones and we get out an actual tea set instead of just using infusers and our everyday teacups or mugs. He sometimes even wears a tie. xD

I would LOVE to do what my bestie did this one time (when she lived even farther away, so I wasn’t able to attend), which was have a bunch of her church friends over for tea and chatter. It’s just that my place is so small… :( But I have a cookbook with all sorts of afternoon tea recipes that I’m dying to try, like cucumber & watercress sandwiches and rosewater cookies and mini quiches and turnovers… the tiny chef inside me is bouncing up and down right now. In my tiny apartment, I could probably swing a tea party of maybe six people, my husband and myself included, if we moved some furniture around our coffee table. Maybe I’ll make that happen one day.

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Awhile back, I was trying to convince my now hubby to have a “tea party” themed wedding. Tea, tiny sandwiches and tarts, it would of been really cute! Probably why no one else liked the idea, that and like 4 out of 50 guests drink tea. /cry

Nicole said

Yeah, but everyone likes little food. :) Especially when there is a lot of it.

But I can see a lot of guys voting down a tea wedding. :)

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Lynxiebrat said

If I ever get married, I would want the rehearsal dinner or engagement party at a tea house. There is a tea house that I really like, only been there once. It is called The British Pantry. The only problem is, is that it’s like 2 hours away from here!

I would love to go to tea parties, they sound like fun!

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