Preparing all the tea for a tea tasting party may seem like a daunting task that few can pull off without ending up with a dozen cups of tepid tea. In fact, putting together a tasting board can be rather simple if you manage your time wisely, pool your resources and do your research before hand. Just in the case you didn’t grow up on the grounds of Buckingham palace or travel the roads of Darjeeling, we’ve prepared this fool-proof guide to planning your party so what is meant to be hot stays hot, and that which is cold remains as cool as can be.
Variety is key when it comes to hosting any sort of tasting: tea, wine, cheese, or otherwise. This is not to say you can have one or two green teas on the menu or several varieties of rooibos to taste, but your guests will appreciate versatility, especially if they discover a particular brew or kind to be, well, not their cup of tea.
Have a taste rehearsal. A day or two before, try a bunch of different teas before deciding whether or not to include them in your party menu. Pre-tasting and pre-brewing will not only prevent you from serving a brackish brew, but may give you some additional insight as to what to serve along side your teas, such as sugars, syrups, fruits, and so on.
When in doubt fall for fruit. Fruitier teas may not be the most refined or sophisticated of all teas, but selecting a berry blend or citrusy tea can simplify your menu as these naturally sweeter brews require less doctoring and tend to please a wider variety of people. Round these teas out with stiffer, herbal teas to appease the more hardcore tea drinkers of the crowd, but don’t fret if a guest doesn’t care for one of you tea selections, but instead find out what they didn’t like about that particular cup, and offer them something new and different.
Aside from the tea itself, there are a few things a host should have on hand when hosting a tea tasting.
For starters several tea cups should be acquired ahead of time so that guests may have their own for tasting the wares. Decorative teacups can be snagged for next to nothing at local flea markets and rummage sales, tea sets can be found inexpensively through tea suppliers.
To keep hot drinks hot round up an arsenal of teapots and tea kettles. This may mean asking a friend or two to let you borrow their tea gear. In the case that no one comes through to help you brew bring water to a gentle boil in small saucepans works equally well. Top prevent tea from growing cold, make large batches of tea in the teapots rather than per cup, not only does this keep the tea toasty and warm, but it affords you the chance to fill your guests in a little as to what it is exactly they are drinking, as you pour them a cup of one of your favorite teas.
Ice Ice Baby
When temperatures rise thoughts of tea tend to boil over. Iced tea is a great way to keep the tea dream alive, without adding any extra heat to an already sweltering day. Make large pitchers of different kinds of iced tea before hand, and consider trying your hand at sweet tea ice cream or other tea-inspired cool treats that will help you and your friends beat the heat.
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