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How to run a Tea Appreciation Party
For my 25th birthday we held a Tea Appreciation Afternoon. You can do this too, and there doesn't have to be any occasion other than the need to catch up with friends and a share love of tea. You can collectively organise your Tea event with other tea loving friends and relatives, who can each contribute something for the day. Here are some of the ideas I will include for you to use in this hub:
- Food suggestions and links to tea-themed baking tools
- Games and activities
- Step by step instructions for a blind tea tasting
- Decoration ideas and links to find items or instructions for making them
We only invited true tea-lovers to our event. This may seem a bit harsh, but you don't want to have people there who don't want to actually drink tea and have no idea what everyone is going on about when you're listing your reasons for thinking tea is amazing. If like me, you are doing this for a birthday event, you might want to organise a simple, separate gathering that your non-tea-loving friends can attend, such as a pub meal or bonfire. You can run both events on the same day if your Tea Appreciation event is a morning tea or lunch and your larger gathering something stress-free in the evening. The success of this event relies on your guests really caring about tea; they don't have to be experts, but they have to be willing to try different teas, think up lots of reasons why tea is wonderful, and participate in tea-themed craft. So don't invite your uncle who only drinks coffee and doesn't get it; he can come along to dinner later. Choose your guests carefully and invite people who will really enjoy the activities, the tea tasting and the tea talk, and who will be excited about the idea.
What's your favourite thing about tea?
People love tea for a huge variety of reasons. This is a great thing to ask your party guests, and you can build a concept map of the different wonderful features tea can have. Check one out in the activities section.
Why do you love tea? Cast your vote on the poll on the right or leave me a comment below!
Food suggestions and Tea-themed baking tools
For a tea party, you'll want to have a nice selection of accompaniments for your tea; even better if they follow a tea theme too. Keep it simple, but choose your food items carefully so that there is something for everyone. Not all tea-lovers like sweet foods, so it's a good idea to have some fruit or some bread and cheese for those who are more fond of their 'toast and tea' style combination. Here are some ideas:
- Choose a cupcake flavour or two to bake, or get a friend to bake, and make them look as cute and pretty as possible. You can even make them look like teacups, or present them in spare teacups on a tea tray.
- Get yourself a teapot and teacup cookie cutter: there are lots on Etsy. Have a look at some here:
or here: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/194159103/teacup-cookie-cutter-with-built-in?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=teacup+cookie+cutter&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery
or here: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/153613664/teapot-cookie-cutter?ref=sr_gallery_15&ga_search_query=teacup+cookie+cutter&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery
There are many wonderful pictures online of teacup and teapot cookies, one of which I have included for you to check out.
- Get someone to bake a teapot cake. Any type is good! But if you want to be really in-theme, of course it should be a tea cake of some variety such as a green tea or Earl Grey flavoured cake
- Have a bread basket and cheese and a raw foods platter or fruit platter for the less sweet-toothed
- Popcorn is surprisingly amazing and easy to make a bowl of
- There is no such thing as a complete tea party without scones, jam and cream available
Don't go too crazy with tons of food: Tea should remain the focus. Choose a few things and spend your efforts on making them fit the tea theme, rather than on making huge quantities.
Games and activities
Here are some of the activities that people engaged in at my Tea Appreciation afternoon. Hopefully your guests will have a lot of fun with them too!
- Tea craft activity: Before the event I printed out lots of teacup and teapot pictures and cut them out, as well as providing a teapot and teacup stencil and paper with interesting colours and patterns. Then I printed off a selection of tea quotes, poems and sayings, and put them in a lucky dip box. Guests chose a teapot or teacup or drew and cut out their own, and spent time decorating it and writing on it with either one of the quotes, facts or sayings from the lucky dip or a reason of their own why they thought tea was amazing. We then used blu-tack to stick up the different teapots, cups and teabags with their quotes etc onto the back of a door in our house, making an amazing collage in front of which we could take photos
- Tea testimonials: We also had a video camera and guests could choose to video a short testimonial about why they loved tea, read out one of the quotes or poems, or even make up a short tea-related skit or joke to record. The camera was also used to record our tea song
- Writing of an 'ode to tea': Guests brainstormed reasons for loving tea, facts about tea and ideas about why it is a useful beverage. We then tried to form these ideas into a song about tea. For ours, we started with the tune of the Hokey Pokey and tried to make our ideas fit into the lines. Then we all sang along and videoed our song, which we have since sung as a kind of family theme song at other events and are working on a comical music video for.
- Tea-lovers concept map: We also had a large sheet of paper with a basic concept map about the fantastic features of tea onto which guests could add their own ideas and reasons, or if they wanted add some of the quotes and facts provided
- Blind tea tasting: More specific instructions for the blind tea tasting will be given in the next section. Guests tried to identify different teas from the taste and we had a prize for the person identifying the most where they chose their favourite tea they had tasted from the afternoon and we later bought them their own tin of that tea.
How to do a blind tea tasting
First, you need one person in your household who is willing to run the tea tasting and not be involved, which is a bit sad, but you can take in turns if you do multiple events like this. It is their responsibility to choose some new teas for the event, and decide which of your previously-obtained teas to include.
Next, you will need a lot of teapots, and you will need to have a grand teapot-cleaning, as it's likely those that have sat in your shelf as decoration for a long while will be rather stained and dusty. Get out the bi-carb soda and give them all a scrub, and then a very thorough rinse - no one wants to taste bi-carb in their tea!
During the tea-brewing all your guests and you, if you are participating, will need to be in another room. Your tea-master will brew different teas in different pots and number them. We had several rounds: A round for black teas, a round for green and white teas and a round for herbal teas, since it's a little easy to tell the varieties apart and that could make the guessing very easy.
Now for the fun bit: everyone should be given a slip of paper with the numbers of the pots and a space to write their name, and the names and descriptions of the teas should be written up on a blackboard. Guests bring their cup into the teapot-room and pour themselves a small taste of each tea, try it and then record next to the teapot number on their slip which of the teas on the board they think they have just tasted. You may wish to have a water jug so that guests can refresh their palette between teas.
Finally, the tea-master collects the slips, making sure everyone has put their name on them, and marks the answers. The person with the most teas correctly identified can win a prize, either in each round, or overall. You could make a special teapot-shaped certificate or a sash with 'tea-tasting champion' on it for the overall winner.
You don't need to do too much decoration for a Tea Appreciation Party; the cute food and teapots all around will provide a nice backdrop in themselves. However, here are a few ideas for decorations that fit the theme:
- Did you know that you can get teacup and teapot confetti? This made me very excited. I got mine from an Etsy store that seems to have disappeared, but a quick search for it on Etsy brings up a few other stores
- Hang up strings of teapot or teacup cutouts or even real cups
- Use teapots as vases and bring some simple flowers inside such as daisies or herbs
- As your guests create their tea-craft, hang or stick up your creations around the room
- Dress for the occasion: Either in your tea-party best or in something specifically tea-themed: encourage people to be creative. I have a wonderful artist friend who made me a teacup brooch as my present, so I was lucky enough to wear my love of tea on my sleeve all day.
- If your ancestors/generations no longer with you were also tea lovers, why not have a candle alight in a teacup or teapot to represent their presence?
Some useful tea quotes and sayings
Here are a few of the tea quotes, poems and sayings I collected for my Tea Appreciation Event, which you might like too:
Doing nothing is respectable at tea. ~Saying quoted in Sasaki Sanmi, Sadô Saijiki
The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness. ~ P.G. Wodehouse
Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.~Okakura Kakuzō
Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.~ Okakura Kakuzo
Come and share a pot of tea,
My home is warm and my friendship’s free ~ Emilie Barnes
The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation. The little spaces in time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself–warm and comforting-inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences. ~ Emilie Barnes, If Teacups Could Talk
Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn’t try it on. ~ Billy Connolly
A cup of tea is a cup of peace. ~ Soshitsu Sen XV, quoted by Kenneth S. Cohen
Tea is wealth itself, because there is nothing that cannot be lost, no problem that will not disappear, no burden that will not float away, between the first sip and the last. ~ The Minister of Leaves, The Republic of Tea
…A pure wind envelopes my body.
The whole world seen in a single cup. ~ Kokan (Zen priest, 1278-1346), quoted in The Japanese Way of Tea by SenSōshitsu XV, translated by V. Dixon Morris
Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary. ~ Chinese Proverb
Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. ~ Catherine Douzel
I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea. ~ Lu T’ung
As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There’s a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother’s pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, ‘In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes’. ― Aprilynne Pike, Illusions
Haiku to Tea
In the teacup’s steam
Memories, daydreams, ancestors
Thoughts and creations. ~ Sarah Fletcher 2013
Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea. ~ Unknown
Watch this space!
When our 'Tea Pokey' music video is completed, I will add a link to it here for your amusement.