The act of brewing up a warm mug of tea has always brought with it a sense of comfort, compassion, and community. For centuries, people from all over the world have treasured the precious Camellia Sinensis plant, from which all tea originates, for its soothing effects and ability to bring communities of friends, family, colleagues, and strangers together.
Winter is the perfect time to plan such a gathering as the cold lures people indoors and sets the stage for us to find new and innovative ways to socialize beyond movie nights and happy hour. Below are four easy ways to incorporate the spirit of tea into your social calendar to not only enrich your relationships but your taste buds too!
This may be the perfect occasion to dust off your old porcelain china sets and revamp an afternoon with a delightful tea get together. As the party host, if you stick to the traditional British version, you might want to brew up some Earl of Grey or Organic English Breakfast to go along with crustless sandwiches filled with savory spreads, cucumber, and smoked salmon. While the traditional English afternoon tea originated in the British royal court, whose to say that you need to bend over backward to enjoy an elegant meal. Check out your local bakery for some scrumptious muffins, scones, or cakes to add to the menu!
Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or just joining the vast world of teas, a tea tasting party is not only fun but extremely easy to prep for. You can even choose to make a “tea potluck” out of this event by asking your guests to bring their favorite teas to share. You could brew and then compare notes of subtle flavors and even discover new favorites along the way. Maybe you’ll even learn more about your own palate and discover that you actually prefer the prominent earthy flavor of a Dark Roast Oolong to the floral notes of a Jasmine Green Tea.
Tea & Food Pairings
If you’ve ever gone wine tasting at a vineyard, you may have seen the extensive options for various food & wine pairings that are created to enhance the overall sensory experience. Similarly, tea and food pairings are meant to create a more enjoyable atmosphere with even less hard and fast rules to follow. Experimentation is welcome and adds to the endless combinations that you could test out during your party. Create a savory or sweet menu to start with an accompanying tasting notes sheet to document your findings. For newbies to the tea pairing game, try pairing similar light flavors together. For example, you could pick Gyokuro green tea to go with a light white fish or a simple green vegetable dish to mimic and enhance the marine and vegetal notes of the tea. Or if you are planning on going the sweet route, choose a dark chocolate dessert that will go well with the high umami content of a Gyokuro green tea. For those who are fond of wine & cheese pairings, consider combining classic aged cheddar or goat cheese with the earthy notes of an organic Pu’erh and get ready for an explosion of new flavors!
Virtual Tea Party
Reconnect and build stronger relationships with friends and family from anywhere, anytime with a virtual social gathering! Technology has made it so much easier for us to keep in touch with those we care about with the press of a button. Take that monthly skype chat with your friend abroad to a whole new level by adding a special tea brewing ceremony to initiate your call. You never know what you can unearth about a new method of preparation or a unique blend of tea that is local to a particular country. And if you’re feeling adventurous, create a “blend-your-own tea” virtual party to get the creative juices and tea flowing! Want to add more spice to your Rise & Chai tea? Add some ginger! Have a friend in a different timezone who wants more calm in their tea? Suggest some additional chamomile or lavender flowers for their tea to help them rest easy.