tea it up

As I write up this post on tea, I am, appropriately enough, drinking tea. It’s a milk tea that I sweetened with cranberry honey crème; I’m sipping it out of a china teacup, all while under a blanket and typing on my laptop. Sounds not so bad, right?

Lucky for me — a bona fide tea lover — tea is just as good for an occasion as it is for a solitary pick-me-up. Here are some tea tips in case you’d like to host a tea party:

  • Easy, elegant tea bars, like the one in the picture above, are growing in popularity at weddings and showers. Rather conveniently, a row of different teas in the same tins — such as these from
    Portsmouth — makes a striking presentation. I’m also a fan of

    Lupica teas, especially their “ume verte,” which is a delicate and lovely blend of green and white teas scented with Japanese apricot.

  • If you want to cover a range of teas without putting out a crazy amount, I recommend going with whatever flavor suits your fancy within these four differently caffeinated categories: black tea (strongly caffeinated), green (lightly caffeinated), white (lightly caffeinated) and red (no caffeine). You may want to remind your guests that some teas, such as white and green, need to steep for less time (roughly two minutes, depending on the brand) and can become bitter if over-steeped.
  • As for tea accessories, put out spoons, milk, lemon wedges, sugar in cube or lump form (it’s easier that way) and honey. If you go the loose tea route, be sure to supply tea sacks as well so attendees can create their own little teabags; Portsmouth carries some. Also, to make things less messy for your guests, have either teacups with saucers, so guests can place their teabags on the saucers when they’re done steeping, or provide some other place for guests to put their teabags, like these tea trays from
    Tea Forte.
  • Favors are obvious and not hard on the wallet (some might say “in the bag,” but not me). Just send guests home with an individually packaged teabag such as Tea Forte’s cone-shaped teas or

    Tea Revolution’s single-serving boxes. After all, the tea-drinking doesn't have to stop just because the party is over.