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Tips for Tea Time

Afternoon Tea

*(See Hosting an Afternoon Tea below)

Brewing the Perfect Pot of Tea

By Lynne Valeriote

You can't have a tea party without a good pot of tea, so choose a high quality loose tea, such as Assam, Darjeeling or Earl Grey or create your own custom blends of tea, using either fresh mint or various combinations of black, green and/or dried organic flowers. The possibilities are endless.

Fragrant Custom Blends of Tea

Rose Petals and Assam Tea

Rose Petal Tea

Makes: 4 1/2 cups


2 cups loose organic (unsprayed) rose petals

1/2 cup lemon verbena

2 cups loose Assam tea


1. Thoroughly combine rose petals, lemon verbena and Assam tea in a large bowl.

2. Store in an airtight container and keep in a dark place.

Loose Chamomile and Lavender

Chamomile Lavender Tea

Makes: 4 cups


2 cups loose organic (unsprayed) chamomile flowers

2 cups loose organic (unsprayed) lavender flowers


1. Thoroughly combine chamomile and lavender flowers in a large bowl.

2. Store in an airtight container and keep in a dark place.

Fresh Spearmint

Fresh Spearmint Tea

Makes: 4 cups


1 bunch of fresh spearmint, rinse thoroughly


1. Place spearmint in teapot and pour boiling water into pot.

2. Let steep for 3-5 minutes.

Brewing the Perfect Pot:

1. Fill a tea kettle full of fresh, cold water.

2. Bring kettle to a full boil.

3. In the meantime, warm the teapot by running it under hot tap water.

4. If you are using loose tea, add 1 teaspoon to the warmed pot, for every cup of tea, plus "one for the pot". Or if teabags are preferred, put in one bag for every desired cup of tea.

5. Once the water has come to a full, rolling boil pour the water into the teapot and let it steep for 3 - 5 minutes.

6. When the tea is steeped, pour it through a strainer into a cup (if using loose tea) or pull tea bags out of pot and discard.

It's always a good idea to have an extra pot of boiled water on hand for those who find the brew too strong and would like their cup diluted. Be sure to have plenty of milk, sugar and lemon slices on hand.

Source: Food TV-Canada

Hosting an Afternoon Tea

When thinking about tea parties, do you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts of the British gentry, scenes from Alice in Wonderland, Victorian decor, blue haired ladies and pinky fingers stuck up in the air? If so, you're both right and wrong. You're right because as the tradition of "Afternoon" Tea has developed over time, it has become an elegant affair. You're wrong because "High" Tea was often enjoyed by the British working class as their evening supper, with heartier fare than the tea sandwiches and scones that are now associated with tea time.

Tea Time Tables

In many parts of the world, tea time is an honored tradition of refinement and elegance. When you're planning a tea party -- whether for a shower, graduation, birthday, or just for fun -- adorn your table with your best china, silver, and linens. These add polish and grace to the occasion, and in our "paper cup" world they remind us fondly of earlier times.

As the custom has evolved, tea time is usually scheduled from mid to late afternoon. It's a between meal snack that is a lot more elegant than a bag of chips from the vending machine. It needn't be extremely fussy, although the meal often includes savory, bite size sandwiches, scones or biscuits, and sweets (along with a good pot of tea, of course!) Both men and women enjoy afternoon tea in England, and it's often used as a function for entertaining business clients.

An Afternoon Tea Party is suitable for many celebrations. When you'd like to host a party that isn't as involved as a dinner party, a tea party can be the answer. It's an ideal format for a bridal or baby shower, a retirement party, a birthday celebration, or time to catch up with good friends. The food is prepared before your guests arrive, and is either presented buffet style, or by passing plates of goodies at the table. The only thing you need to serve is the tea itself, leaving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy your guests. Your guest list can include dozens of people or only one good friend with whom you'd like to share an intimate conversation. It can be a very formal affair as you'll find at some of the more elegant hotels, or it can be as casual as a pot of tea and some cookies.

Whatever your reason for hosting your next tea party, enjoy!

Source: About.com, from their Entertaining Section.