For centuries, tea has both brought people together and provided comfort when enjoyed alone. Its first known sip was taken in 2737 B.C., and its benefits have been flowing ever since. As we all spend more time at home these days, tea can play a larger role in our lives than you might imagine, from an inspired kitchen ingredient to a natural Easter egg dye, to a creative connection point for friends and family. Read on for an array of ways to have fun with tea.
1. Virtual tea party
Although we're all using the term "social distancing" lately, it's really more about physical distancing: we can still be social with one another, just from afar. Thanks to a host of free video conferencing apps, experiencing the social aspect of tea from the comfort of home is as simple as a few clicks of a computer or swipes of a smartphone.
To host a virtual tea party, first send a group text or online invitation (try Facebook Event, Evite, or the service of your choice) and invite your friends and family to attend. Take a few moments to set up your camera-enabled device in advance and make sure it's configured properly. If you're using your computer to host the party, test out your camera and microphone the day before, and if you're using a smartphone, just be sure to position it on a dedicated stand or prop it up securely so it can remain steady during your tea party.
Feeling creative? Make a festive background using items around your house, whether it's holiday decorations, a string of twinkling lights, homemade signs or other crafts. Then, select your teaware and your tea. Part of the fun is preparation, so you might wish to wait until the party starts to prepare your tea together. Then, kick back and enjoy catching up with your family and friends over a ritual steeped in the beauty of togetherness.
Photo by: The Everyday Hostess
2. Tea and a movie
This is an excellent time to watch movies and shows that comfort and inspire us. Even though we can't invite friends and family over for a traditional movie night, Netflix has introduced an extension that allows viewers to sync up with remote companions and type messages to one another during the shared viewing experience. While talking during a movie is generally frowned upon, this is an innovative (and silent!) exception.
Whether you're virtually gathering over tea with others or enjoying a cup on your own, Netflix has a few recommendations for tea-centric films and shows, like Alice in Wonderland, The Princess Diaries, Downton Abbey, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in which Dame Maggie Smith goes on a memorable tangent about how she prefers her tea. Whatever you choose to watch, you can make it cozy with a cupful of your favorite blend.
3. Fun Tea Crafts
If you're a craft-oriented person and/or have kids at home, there are plenty of tea crafts to keep you occupied and make something fun in the process.
If you have a spare teacup, or perhaps a chipped one that you don't want to toss out, you can turn it into "floating teacup" art using Karen Caton's instructions for creating an optical illusion. If you have tea towels lying around, you can upcycle them into tote bags, accent pillows, or home decor using this guide from Your Home and Garden.
Or, if you enjoy papercraft, this pretty paper teacup project from Clare Young is enjoyable for crafters of all ages. These are just some inspiration points to get you started. The number of projects you can do with tea and tea accessories is as unlimited as your imagination (or a little light Googling).
4. Cooking with Tea
Too few people realize what a versatile and flavorful kitchen ingredient tea can be. Aside from drinking it, we can also use it in baked goods, sauces, smoothies, cocktails and more.
If you're missing your daily barista-crafted caffeine fix, try your hand at this rich, fragrant London Fog Latte recipe to get you going in the morning. A Ginger Lemongrass Hot Toddy can soothe the soul and fortify the body's defenses, while Chocolate Matcha Strawberry Brownies can satisfy a sweet tooth for days on end. And for a long list of reasons to keep matcha in your kitchen, enjoy this article from one of our favorite restaurateurs, who swears by the bountiful green superfood and its health-forward versatility.
5. Tea home delivery
However you're spending your time at home, tea can be an ideal companion in your cup, in your crafting, and in the kitchen, too. To restock your pantry with your favorite blends or treat yourself or a loved one to fine teaware, we've got you covered with our selection of luxury teas and tea accessories, all shipped securely and directly to your doorstep. These are unusual times, but we're in this together. All of us at Tea Forté are raising a cup to your health and well-being.
Top photo by @naughtyteas