“My question would be when throwing a tea party how do you best accommodate those that favor decaf over traditional teas? I love to include children at my teas, but prefer to offer them a decaf tea due to their ages. How can I accomplish this without making it obvious that the grownups are enjoying different varieties?”-Pam (no url)

Pam, I don’t think you need to worry about children knowing they’re drinking something different. In my article, The Definition of a Tea vs. a Tisane, I explain why I recommend brewing two pots of tea for each party, one with caffeine and one without.

Personally, I do not worry about the caffeine in tea for myself or my children. It’s important to know, first of all, that the amount of caffeine in a cup of black tea is one-third the amount in an equal cup of coffee. When I serve black tea to children, I also provide them with milk and sugar. They see it as a treat. By the time they add the milk and sugar, and often don’t finish the cup, the amount of caffeine they end up consuming is negligible.

“What is the best cookie or such to serve with your tea?”–Tasha (no url)

I’m sure, Tasha, that we could gather as many opinions on your question as there are cookie choices. I can give you Tea Party Girl’s perspective, however:Make your calories count and only eat what you really love. Homemade cookies are the best choice for making the calories worth it unless you live by an exceptional bakery. If the cookie’s large, break it in half and save the rest for later. Don’t sweeten your tea, but let the sweetness of the cookie suffice. And always make sure you are sitting down and really enjoying it. No standing in the kitchen allowed!

“How do I serve the tea and make sure it stays warm?”-Becca (no url)

Becca, this is a great question. Even decent restaurants rarely provide decent cups of hot tea because they find it tricky.

There are a number of ways to keep tea nice and hot. I recommend the following in the order of effectiveness:

Be sure to warm your teapot before brewing by filling it with piping hot tap water or swishing it with some of the boiling water from your kettle. Water from a coffeemaker does not get hot enough. One doesn’t want to use their coffee accessories to brew or store tea, anyway, unless you clean it thoroughly with baking soda first. The strength of coffee’s pungency will ruin the taste of your tea.

If anyone else would like to add their number one tea party question, please feel free to leave it in the comments. I will get through all of them!