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How to throw the perfect tea party

Afternoon tea is making a comeback. 

As the hit Netflix series “Bridgerton” continues to sweep the nation with its modernized British traditions, more people are realizing they don’t need to be throwing a bridal or baby shower to have a classy afternoon affair with friends. You can also throw a tea party…just because, of course.

“I feel people are finding themselves yearning for a connection, not only to host a party, but for nature’s everlasting riches—tea,” said Mayra Betances Yerbatera, owner of Teas for Spirits.  

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There’s so much more to a fabulous tea party than just tea. Part of the magic is in the elegance of it all, and the rest is in the details. That said, anyone can throw a tea party with the right tea—Lipton just won’t do.

Betances Yerbatera recommends having various teas on hand and pairing them with a garnish buffet tray. 

“Include a solid black, green, and oolong tea leaves for your guests. The tray will add flair, allow your guests to make their own selections, and make your par-tea catch Lady Whistledown’s attention and become the soirée it should be,” she joked. 

If you don’t know where to start and have visions of a charming tea room setting out of a British fairy tale, Cambridge Tea House is the place to go for all of your party needs. This hidden gem will make you feel like you’ve temporarily traveled across the pond. With its charming atmosphere and delicious goodies, the tea won’t be the only thing having you coming back for more.

The Cambridge Tea House, photo by James D. DeCamp

“During the pandemic, we have had a lot of fun planning themed menus for our customers,” said Sarah Jackson, owner of Cambridge Tea House. “Our afternoon tea service package is the best one to order, whether [you’re] hosting a party for one over Zoom or with friends in the flesh,” she says. 

If setting up for one, the afternoon tea service package includes a bag of tea to brew at home, a scone, clotted cream and jam, three savory finger sandwiches, and two mini desserts. It can also be customized to accommodate your guest list. 

“We will continue to carry the special menus at our location, as they and our loyal customers are what is keeping us afloat during these tough times since we are unable to host events in person at our location,” says Jackson.

For those who want to sauce up their tea experience, adding a bit of spirit can enhance the occasion. When you add the leaves to something other than water—say, a spirit such as bourbon—you open a Pandora’s box of possibility.

“Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Fusion is my favorite to mix with alcohol,” said Betances Yerbatera.” It blends harmoniously with gin, vodka, or white rum. If your guests are looking for the familiarity and comfort of a hot toddy, Blood Orange + Cinnamon Tea and Hibiscus Flower Tea are good to have on deck to pair with a whiskey or bourbon.” 

Whatever menu you decide on, you’d better get started on that guest list. Tea for Two Tuesday is March 16, after all. Send out those invites, get all the mixings, and drink responsibly! 

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