Hosting a dinner party or an afternoon tea with friends can be a great way to experience culture, catch up on each other’s lives, and host a party. Tea is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, whether it’s with friends or by yourself. You could opt for a traditional Japanese tea experience or even British High Tea, or simply offer a variety of tea and treats for all your guests. Tea time is fun and you can even get fancy with this high end party option.

Use the Tools You Have

You don’t have to own a fancy China set if you don’t want to. In fact, you can have a tea party even if all you have is a way to boil water and different coffee cups for your guests. Additionally, using a variety of nice plates to serve treats on can simplify your party as well. Most tea parties offer food that is in the theme of the tea you are eating. British High Tea might include a spread of scones and bread with jam while a Japanese tea might include dumplings or a sweet mochi.

Choose Your Theme

Choosing a tea party theme is one of the exciting parts of hosting this type of event. Everything you decide on will come from your choice of theme. Let’s say that you are planning a British tea. Maybe you tell everyone to wear fancy hats as the Brits do for special occasions. Or perhaps you simply ask everyone to come as they are, but serve up foods and decorate your home to go along with the theme. Once you’ve chosen a theme, the rest of the planning can more easily fall into place.

Plan the Date

Set the date and send out an informal save the date for your guests. You may do this through text, email, or on social media to ensure that everyone knows when the party starts. Plan to send out formal invitations a few weeks in advance and make it easy for everyone to RSVP. Make sure the invite is clear as to whether this is an exclusive event only for the one you invited, or if they can bring along a friend.

Choose Your Tea Carefully

Your theme might help you decide on tea options, but a British tea could include any number of options like Earl Grey. You might go with a tea from India like Assam or Darjeeling, of a China tea like Yunnan. If you opt for a Japanese-themed tea party, you might choose something like a Shincha, which is the earliest picked tea leaves of the season, or a Hojicha which was roasted over hot coals. Each of these has a unique flavour profile. You can also offer a variety of herbal tea options for the people who don’t prefer green or black teas. Chamomile is a popular choice along with peppermint.

Use a Tea Warmer

If you are serving multiple teas, a tea warmer is an essential piece of equipment. Tea warmers are inexpensive and easy to use and can be found in any kitchen store or department store. Tea warmers take up little space on the table and allow guests to help themselves when they want more tea or hot water for their drink. They also provide a place for your teapot and cups where there might not be any room otherwise.

Offer Treats

The type of treat you serve will depend on the theme of your tea party. Scones are key for a traditional British tea. You’ll also want jam, butter and clotted cream to go with them. Japanese teas can include anything from sweet mochi, a sweet dumpling called Dango, or Dorayaki. This traditional Japanese confection includes a sweet red bean paste and sometimes even walnuts and whipped cream. These treats should be made in advance to ensure that your tea time is spent enjoying the company of friends.

Presentation is Everything

Presentation matters. You’ll want to present your food and tea in a way that makes it look as delicious as possible, so you can get the most enjoyment out of your experience and your guests will feel welcome and excited about the party. Choose a cloth cover for your table, then create a dynamic display with different heights of plates using cake stands. You can even add small vases with seasonal flowers and greenery.