As the holiday season arrives, tea enthusiasts and discriminating hosts the world over make a point of gathering and connecting over cupfuls of our favorite blends. If you’re curious about the etiquette and traditions associated with year-end tea parties, enjoy our primer on how to serve tea for the holidays.
TIPS FOR SERVING TEA OVER THE HOLIDAYS
Tea may be served loose or in teabags or infusers; which one you choose to serve your guests depends on how much variety you’d like to offer, your number of guests, and the level of sophistication you want to achieve. For smaller gatherings, loose tea is a fantastic option if you wish to offer one or two blends and control the steep yourself. When setting the table for larger parties, teabags or individual infusers offer more freedom to the host and company alike. More tea blends may be offered and the host is free to socialize rather than keep an eye on each steep.
Serving an array of tea blends in Tea Forté’s signature pyramid infusers will delight guests: an elegant infuser with a delicate green paper leaf unfurling from its peak is a picture-perfect moment in the center of each teacup. Simply fill a set of teapots with hot water (208 degrees Fahrenheit for black, oolong, and herbal teas and tisanes, and 175 F for green and white tea blends) and pour or pass around. For guests who accidentally over-steep their own cup of tea, an additional ounce or so of water can dilute its strength to their liking.
No matter which blends and serving method you choose, be sure to have a sugar and creamer set (or several) on hand so each guest may enjoy their tea as they please. Some guests may prefer lemon with their tea, so display a few slices alongside the sugar and cream
HOLIDAY TEA PARTY MENU IDEAS
To develop a traditional afternoon tea menu for a special daytime gathering, you’ll want to include savones (tea sandwiches), scones, and pastries. Egg salad, chicken salad, and cucumber sandwiches are classic options, each served in small “two-bite” triangles with crusts removed. Scones are best served with clotted cream and lemon curd or fruit jam, and pastries may include cookies, petit fours, or other small sweets.
For any holiday tea party, it’s thoughtful to offer a variety of tea blends to suit a spectrum of tastes. For a small gathering, a caffeinated tea (such as black, white, green, or oolong) and a caffeine-free blend (such as an herbal tisane) would be most appropriate. For a larger group, a broader variety -- perhaps three or four options -- is ideal. For heightened visual impact, you may wish to display them on modern serving trays.
Blueberry Merlot Tea Jam Sandwiches. Photo by David Young.
HOLIDAY TEA FLAVORS
Tea Forté offers a wide variety of Event Boxes filled with 48 luxurious tea infusers to please any holiday crowd: from Bombay Chai, to White Ginger Pear to Blueberry Merlot, there’s a festive blend for every palate. Stock up on several blends to give guests more options, and enjoy any unused infusers for yourself and your household in the new year – or, save them for your next gathering, as tea is capable of staying fresh on the shelf for an extraordinary length of time.
If you’re serving tea in individual infusers or bags, you can give guests a chance to explore a wide array of flavors; just be sure to leave Tea Forté’s beautifully designed sleeves wrapped around their infusers so guests aren’t left guessing which blend they’re about to enjoy. If you’re concluding a holiday soiree with a round of tea before everyone departs, simply mention what type of tea you’re serving as you circulate throughout the room.
For a proper farewell, generously send each guest home with an infuser or two of Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea to enjoy in the morning. It is, after all, a season for giving!
Warming Joy: A limited edition holiday collection of festive, warming blends.
To infuse your holiday gathering with a sense of comfort and joy, explore Tea Forté’s special event offerings and prepare for a party to remember.