Hosting a Tea

Tea has been a favorite drink of mine for years. Long before the media discovered the many nutritional, cleansing, stress-relieving, energy-boosting and medicinal benefits, there were many folks who just enjoyed tea, whether it was hot or iced and whether it was made from loose tea versus a tea bag. Making tea is not rocket science. It’s easy to accomplish, but it requires attention to detail. Keeping in mind, the amount of tea you would like to make, bring cold water (preferably fresh, spring water or filtered water) to a boil. Note: great tea is made with great water! Pour boiled water over fresh, loose tea leaves or a tea bag and let the liquid steep with the tea. Check package directions for water to tea ratios as well as steeping time recommended. Often an iced tea recipe will call for fresh fruit that has been crushed and sweetened. After the tea is steeped, then it’s poured over the fruit (while in a strainer), then cooled with ice and enjoyed! The variety of ways tea (hot or cold) can be enjoyed are limitless your highest truth.

My friend, Gena, hosts a “Tea” once a quarter and it’s an awesome, relaxing event – for women. Each woman feels like she’s had an afternoon of pampering when she leaves. Gena has a beautiful room in the back of her home dedicated to a vast collection of tea pots and tea cups, linen napkins and tablecloths, silverware, crystal bowls for sugar and cream, and china pieces (everything one would need for a Tea). A “theme” for the Tea is carefully chosen which dictates the decorations for each table and the favors each lady will leave with. The menu usually consists of a miniature sandwiches, various hors d’oeuvres, fruit kabobs, scones with clotted cream, jam or lemon curd and, of course, several mini desserts. This is a highly organized event with a hostess for each of the six tables that will seat from six to eight ladies. Each hostess brings a dish that will feed 36-48 from the above menu and she is encouraged to bring two guests. In addition to the table hostesses, two other ladies volunteer to “meet and greet” guests when they arrive, three additional ladies “plate” the food tastefully, while two extra volunteers carry the plated food to the stations set up near each guest table. This “behind the scene” work is all done before the guests are seated in the “tea room.”

As each guest arrives at the Tea, they are escorted to a table where they pick up their beautifully decorated name tag and sign in for the door prizes to be given out during the Tea. After signing in, the guest might add her name and email address to the mailing list for the notice of the next Tea. This is also on the sign-in table. The guests are then pointed to the kitchen area where tall, crystal glasses of beautifully flavored iced tea are being served with a garnish of fresh fruit. Usually the flavor goes along with the theme of the Tea. Ladies are encouraged to mingle/visit with each other for a few minutes before being seated in the Tea Room.

Elaborating on the themes of a Tea can be quite exhaustive, in that, themes can be about anything from butterflies to starfish to sunflowers. Gena usually has a spiritual topic for interactive discussion – but any topic would work. She will have prepared a story, which she encourages the hostesses to help with. For example, each table hostess may assume a different character, acting and portraying a specific role in the story. After the story is completed, then the guests will be asked to read a previously prepared question, taken from a small crystal glass. Other guests are then free to answer the question briefly. The discussions are spontaneous, fun and lively, after which the names for door prizes are drawn. Door prizes may be donated from different ladies within the group or purchased.