“When planning the tea party events what sort of ready to go inventory should one need to have on hand….ie: vases, tableclothes,dishes etc….?”–Judy Mazuren (no url)

Judy, be sure to see my article, “The Secret to the Simple and Quick Tea Party“. I outline the contents needed for a “tea-tote” so you can serve tea at a moment’s notice.

“What is the best kind of tea party to have on a hot day?”–Kayla Chick (again, no url)

Kayla, I’ve been writing about my August’s Backyard Tea Party Event quite extensively and also recently wrote, Tea Party and the Summer Solstice.

“The only time of day I can usually do anything social is evening, what would you suggest to eat with serving a variety of teas? Can I get away with finger foods or since it would have to be around dinner time, do I need a full menu”–cre82learn

Yes, you can just serve finger-foods. People plan cocktail parties with only finger-foods all the time. Just don’t call it a high tea!

“Why don’t you call it a high tea?

High Tea vs Afternoon Tea

High Tea (essentially It’s Supper)
Beans on toast and leftover roast,
the last meal of the day.
Jeans and shirts, or comfy old skirts,
Slippers are quite okay.
Tea that’s black, the pot with a crack,
placemats for everyday.
Neighbors, mates, or long-standing dates:
Pets won’t be in the way.

Low Tea (Indubitably a Party)
aka: Afternoon Tea

Cakes and tart and scones shaped like hearts,
an afternoon affair.
Frocks and pearls topped with hats and curls,
Perfume applied with a flair.
Fine Earl Grey, a fresh bouquet,
The table set with care.
Invited guests (some dear, some pests).
Manners? Beyond compare!

Poems by J. Camille Korsmo. First appeared in Tea a Magazine Autumn 2005.
Reprinted with permission from the poet.

“Have you ever hosted a Mad Hatter tea party?”–Eden

Not yet, Eden, but it is a very common theme, often for large events or fund-raisers. However, my guess is that these English characters drank freshly brewed looseleaf tea. Even though they were a little mad, no one had to brew their own tea from a teabag during the party, I’m sure!

Be sure to see my article, “The Tea Party’s Most Important Ingredient” for more information.

“When steeping tea, should the water be boiling or just steaming hot?”–Laura Williams

Only herbal tisanes and rooibos teas can handle full boiling water. Green and white teas need the water steaming hot. Black can handle boiling water as long as you don’t wait while the water boils and boils and boils. Over-boiled water makes your tea taste flat. Again, the article, The Tea Party’s Most Important Ingredient outlines the brewing instructions for each kind of tea.

“My #1 question is planning a tea party for young children with the guest of honor a BOY!”–Angela (no url)

I wrote about a tea party my friends and I had last year with our children. The hostess has only three boys and they dressed up like Mr. Darcy. Darling. There are pictures!

“How do you have a tea party that doesn’t convey images of Victorian flowers, lace, and frills for those guests who may be turned off by that?”–Annie

Yes, some guests are turned off by the Victorian look. However, tea has been served in all cultural contexts and traditions for 5000 years. Annie, be sure to see the article, “Aren’t Tea Parties for Retired Ladies with Red Hats?”. I also explain the difference between a Party with Tea or a Tea Party. Tea can be served in every context. A tea party can take on any theme. Have fun with it, and join me on my crusade to woo the tea cynics over! 😉

If I didn’t answer your question today, stay tuned! Or be sure to submit your number one tea party question below in the comments.