The tea party is one of the most popular party themes for parties and events of any occasion. Whether it’s a baby (or bridal) shower, a princess party or just a group of friends getting together: the serving and taking of tea will always be a popular accompaniment.
Why not take this enjoyable activity a stage further and host a tea tasting event.
Tea is becoming a very popular drink and if you research both variety and brewing\serving techniques your tea tasting party will be a huge hit.
For this to be successful I am not talking about putting several tea bags in your handbag (from work) and then dealing out these to your guests and asking “What do you think?”. No No, I am talking about doing research into the traditions and customs of making tea from around the world and then recreating the essence and taste of these customs.
The basic preparation
Only use real tealeaves (not bags), these can be purchased from either a Middle Eastern market (whole leaves) or as regular loose tea in supermarkets.
English tea tasting
Just get some old teapots and some varieties of loose tea and serve it up to your guests for a tasting.
Persian (middle eastern) tea tasting
My own favorite and the pots alone make a great party centerpiece.
You will need to buy a special teapot that can sit on a kettle or boiling pan.
Quick guide to making Persian tea
Boil water on the stove top in a kettle or pot.
In another teapot add loose-leaf tea, one teaspoon for each person, and then add two teaspoons of rose water (you can also add rose petals), just experiment ahead of time to get a taste that is subtle and not over whelming. When the kettle boils pour some of the water from the kettle (pot) into the teapot and sit the teapot on the kettle (lower the temperature on the stove) to keep the tea warm as it ‘brews’ on top of the kettle.
After a few minutes, half fill a clear glass with the tea from the teapot. The clear glass will allow you (and your guests) to judge the strength of the tea and this is also visually appealing. If the tea appears too strong for the individual pour some hot water from the kettle into the glass. If the tea is too weak, put it back in the teapot (which is on the kettle) and let it brew some more. In this way you can keep adding water, so the process is almost endless, although after a while the tea will become bitter as it is at its best when freshly brewed.
Tea sampling party
If you want more variety in your tea tasting party simply give your guests small teacups and then brew a handful of teas in small teapots and serve them one by one. You can ask your guests to each bring a small teapot (BYOTP – Bring Your Own Tea Pot), so you can serve several varieties quickly. You need to provide a bowl where the tea can be discarded, if the guests do not want to finish a given cup. As with other tasting events you should provide water so the guests can rinse their palettes between tastings. You can also ask the group to rate each tea (from 1 to 10) for taste and then review the results at the end of the tasting.