If you’re like most women, you’ve been to so many bridal or baby showers, you’re not too impressed with the same old thing … or surprised how the event unfolds. After all, the norm consists of appetizers, polite conversation and the same two to three party games.
But since there’s no hard and fast rules dictating how a shower plays out, isn’t it a bit odd that they’re all so strikingly similar? If you’re reading this, you’re probably intrigued with the thought of putting a modern twist on these two traditional celebrations. In that case, consider honoring a bride’s upcoming nuptials or a soon-to-be mom with a hip and novel idea: a tea-tasting party.
Of course, if you’ve never hosted — or even attended — such an event, you might wonder how to go about it. Never worry: we cover all the basics of properly throwing one below!
How to Choose a Super Set of Teas
When planning a tea tasting party, the first thing you’ll need to determine is what type of tasting to have. Because this is the type of party that celebrates someone else, and you might not be intimately familiar with all your guests’ preferences, it’s probably best to skip the wild, exotic teas (we’re looking at you, Lapsang Souchong!) and focus on more conventional ones. After all, extremely complex choices might not please the palates of your guests who aren’t avid tea drinkers.
Most varieties of white, black and green gourmet teas are widely-known and shouldn’t alarm anyone. Rooibos and oolong sound pleasantly exotic, but are easy to appreciate. For more variety and color, try infusing several of your teas with complementary spices and fruits, like blueberries or currents, fresh ginger or vanilla, chocolate or orange peel.
Or, a creative host might focus on teas that look like supermodels in the cup or teapot. These “display teas,” like Jasmine blooms, resemble beautiful, perfumed flowers. They’re best shown off in a clear glass teapot!
Another option: try mixing familiar teas with the novel, such as English Breakfast with Yunnan Noir. Regardless of your approach, you’ll need to choose about six teas for the tasting, with each tasting sample measuring about ¼ of a cup.
Having a theme for the party can be a lot of fun, and tea gives you plenty of scope. For instance, you might focus on teas known to de-stress or relax you, or teas from various parts of the world (does your guest of honor have some ancestry you can highlight with your choices)? Try teas with dark chocolate or carob-flavored undertone, or teas with a sweet, grapey flavor. Or if you really want to turn things up a notch, try inventing a few special Mart-tea-nis for the evening: lots of fun, and really delicious!
Be a Hip Hostess: The Rest of the Details
No tea-tasting party’s complete without a tasting card or sheet. For starters, your cards should include the tea’s name, its taste profile, and the part of the world it was harvested from. You can also include a sign on how to evaluate teas as well: this helps your guests best appreciate the teas being served, and helps them talk about them, too.
But don’t forget a palate cleanser: to make sure one tea doesn’t overpower the next, you’ll need to have some food or drink on hand to help your guests clear their buds. Put out an icy jug of lemon water plus some mild, starchy foods, like water crackers.
Speaking of food: this is a shower, your guests expect to be fed! Fortunately, the usual finger foods work fabulously for a tea-tasting party. Fresh scones are a natural choice. Branch out to crowd-pleasing sweets like mini-cupcakes, lemon bars and shortbreads, served on elevated cake plates and towers. Colorful macarons always ensure oohs and ahhs. Extend the luxury experience with some gourmet honeys, jams and cream. Make sure the teacups are beautiful, too! This doesn’t have to be expensive: you can even find stunning, vintage tea cups and sauces at the thrift store.
Wasn’t that easy? Now you know exactly how to throw a sophisticated, fun-loving tea tasting party that will net you plenty of compliments for months to come!