Afternoon Tea for Beginners

Recently, some folks in the Facebook Wisteria Tearoom Group were talking about hosting tea for their friends, and I realized from their conversation that many members of the group had never done that.

This came as a complete shock to me.

I have been a tea enthusiast for so long that I took for granted everyone knew how to host a tea party. Certainly, it can be an effort if the party is elaborate, but to me a simple gathering is a snap: pot of tea, a few TLS (Those Little Sandwiches) to nibble, some scones and a sweet, and you’re set.

I blush to admit that it didn’t occur to me that not everyone has a teapot, or cups and saucers.

Or knows how to brew a pot of tea, for that matter.

So I created a Pinterest board called Afternoon Tea for Beginners. It includes recipes, tips, and photos to inspire you to create your own afternoon tea occasion. It need not cost a fortune*. Teapots and china may be found inexpensively at second-hand stores. Mixed styles are fun!

Here’s a tip from me: have the saucers in the place settings on the tea table, and put the cups by your front door. As guests arrive, have them choose a teacup, and then find the matching saucer to find their place at the table.

*But do, please, buy good quality leaf tea and an infuser with plenty of room for it to swim around in. There’s a pin of my favorite type of infuser on the board.

Have fun! Enjoy!

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About Patrice Greenwood

Patrice Greenwood's Wisteria Tearoom Mysteries are set in a haunted tearoom in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tea, ghosts, and green chile. What more could you want?
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6 Responses to Afternoon Tea for Beginners

  1. Kayote says:

    What a great idea for a pintrest board! I love the idea of the saucer/cup pairing. I may have to print the perfect cup of tea infographic so I can remember steep times (info which refuses to stay in my brain so I just guess).

    My favorite tea pot is a Bodum. Pour in the water, then push down the plunger to stop steeping. Don’t have to deal with the leaves until after the pot is done being drunk.

    We used to just use two dish towel as a tea cozy. I always meant to make one, but two dish towels worked so well it seemed silly to add more to the kitchen. Then for Yule this year my Mother-in-Law gave us one she bought in England years ago. So we’ve switched because how could I turn down an actual English Tea Cozy? 🙂

  2. Decades ago I found a pattern to knit an Arran Isle sweater/cozy for my tea pots. Have to dig it out and share when I find it.

  3. Mixing teacups and saucers can also be charming.

  4. Suzanne says:

    I can’t wait to host my first tea! Thank you for the great tips. Home Goods and TJ Maxx also have very cute cups and saucers at affordable prices.

  5. Alicia says:

    My grandmother went through a phase of buying me 3 piece teasets (cup, saucer, cake plate) for birthdays and Christmases. All in different Royal Albert/Royal Doulton/Royal Worcester floral china patterns. I have 12 or 13 sets, but I seldom entertain that many because I don’t have enough chairs!

    • Lynne Brown says:

      Oh, at that point, you can have an Alice in Wonderland tea–you know, ‘move down, move down, clean cups, clean cups!’ And don’t forget the stuffed-animal Dormouse to put in a sugar bowl.

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