Tag Archives: tea party

All the Single Ladies (and Gentlemen) – enjoy Singles’ Awareness Day with tea!

Lonely Victorian love letter.  Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lonely Victorian love letter. Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s afternoon on Valentine’s Day, and many San Jose residents don’t have any plans!  San Jose-area singles aren’t necessarily in for an evening of depression and loneliness; there are plenty of things to do, that don’t require a partner, and getting together at home with some other single friends – or even just staying in by yourself – for High Tea and television or a movie this evening, can be a perfect way to spend the holiday.  Here are some ideas for things to do this afternoon and evening:

  1. Have tea at a local tea shop (advance reservations required).

A Fairy Tale Tea (through Feb. 28th), for $29.95 per person at Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell: 1875 S. Bascom Avenue #165, Campbell, CA 95008. (408) 371-7377

Tea with Love (through Feb. 28th), for $28.95 per person at Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Los Altos: 167 Main St., Los Altos, CA 94022.  (650) 209-5010.

Be my Valentine Tea (Feb. 14th only), for $35 per person at Satori Tea Bar – 37 San Pedro St., San Jose.

A Victorian Valentine Tea Party (Feb. 14th at 3 p.m.), for $30 per adult/$20 per child, at The English Rose Tea Room — 163 West Neal Street, Pleasanton California 94566, (925) 462-6233.
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Filed under Events, Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tips

Make homemade jam for the tea party pantry

Orlando's Fruit Stand in San Jose.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Orlando’s Fruit Stand in San Jose. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

San Jose’s history as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” is no longer visible in the orchards that once covered the Santa Clara Valley, but plenty of local people still have fruit trees in their front and back yards, trees that are filling with ripe fruit this season.  Wild plums and berries can also be found along the banks of rivers, creeks and streams in the Santa Cruz mountains and local foothills.  For those that don’t have edible landscaping at home, and even for those that do, the local farmers’ markets are a wonderful source of fresh, ripe fruit for tea-table jams and preserves.  What better treat to serve your tea guests, give as gifts, or enjoy by yourself than homemade jam?  You can make jam either with or without adding pectin; it’s a fairly easy recipe either way.
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Filed under Recipes, Tips, Uncategorized

Enjoy some tea and treats with the Eta Aquarid meteor shower

The constellation Aquarius.  Photo: Till Credner, Creative Commons 3.0

The constellation Aquarius. Photo: Till Credner, Creative Commons 3.0

San Jose has seemingly skipped from spring to summer lately! One way to stay cool through the evening is to open up the windows of your home, and spend time outdoors as the sun goes down and the air cools off. What better way to enjoy the cool of the evening than with some tea, treats, and a meteor shower overhead? The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower is supposed to be at its most intense beginning around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, continuing until dawn, but shooting stars could be visible to the east/southeast on the horizon as early as 9 p.m. Pacific time. A spot on the eastern side of the foothills near Berryessa or Evergreen would be an ideal place for meteor-watching, early Sunday and Monday morning.

Halley’s Comet leaves a trail of dust in its wake, littering its orbit with debris. This debris falls to Earth twice a year, when our orbit gets near enough to the comet’s orbit and some of the dust gets pulled in by Earth’s gravity. The other meteor shower caused by this debris is the Orionid meteor shower in October. Ideal conditions for viewing meteor showers include dark, moonless skies, and clear weather. Look for the meteors to originate from the constellation Aquarius, which should be visible above the horizon between midnight and 3 a.m. You can also wait until 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday for NASA’s live webcast.

As for tea and treats, it’s warm enough to enjoy either iced tea, or hot tea, as you choose. A hearty black tea will help you stay awake and focused in order to see those meteors. Keep up your energy with a buffet of treats from the tea party pantry that will pair well with your choice of tea. You can even add some tea ice cream from the grocery store.  If you have a good view of the eastern and southern sky from your yard or windows, you may not even have to leave the comfort of your own home! Pull up some lawn chairs to support your back, or spread out some beach towels, and enjoy your midnight tea picnic while gazing up at the stars this weekend!

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Meteor Shower Created by Halley’s Comet Peaks This Weekend” from Space.com
“LIVE WEBCAST Sunday 9 p.m. ET: See Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower”
“Look Up! Stargazing events for May 2013”
“Eta Aquarid meteor shower to peak this weekend with 20 to 40 meteors per hour”
“Be inspired by Halley’s Comet with a viewing of the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Bring along a tea party as you watch the Orionid meteor shower in October”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Give an open house with a tea buffet for your favorite graduate”
“Fill the time waiting for your Twilight Saga: Eclipse tickets with a midnight tea picnic”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Meteor-watching in San Jose? Keep warm with tea and snacks”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Here’s how to put on a Twilight themed midnight tea picnic”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”

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Fifth Annual Cat Rescue Tea another success!

"Downton Tabby" place setting

“Downton Tabby” place setting.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The 5th annual Cat Rescue Tea fundraiser for the 13th Street Cats nonprofit, dubbed the “Downton Tabby” Tea, returned to a historic Victorian home in San Jose’s Hensley District over Tax weekend. Both days sold out well in advance, with 44 guests the first day and 42 the second day for afternoon tea. New for 2013 was the “V.I.P. Table” – the best seats in the house at a cozy table for two in the velvet-curtained bay window, and the “Champagne Upgrade” available to all guests, which added 2 glasses of good-quality champagne for an extra charge – a very popular novelty with the guests. Satori Tea Company’s Earl Grey Creme blend and a spiced rooibos blend called The Cat’s Pajamas from Thompson Tea Company were donated and paired really well with the food. This year’s menu was also completely homemade; even the gourmet packaged cake and cookies from previous years were replaced with homemade treats:

Fig, bacon and cream cheese tea sandwich
The Kittens’ Favorite egg salad tea sandwich
Pear, bleu cheese and walnut tea sandwich
Cucumber and herbed cream cheese tea sandwich
Goat cheese and sun-dried tomato tea sandwich
Curried chicken salad tea sandwich
Olive tapenade on a cracker
Currant scone with orange zest
Meyer lemon curd
Butter
Spiced plum, summer strawberry, and apricot jam
Fresh grapes
Nut cup
Chocolate-dipped almond shortbread cookie
Chocolate fudge

The coveted V.I.P. table.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The coveted V.I.P. table. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Instead of ordering from the menu as is done at a tea shop, each guest received a plate with all of the above – except for vegetarians and people with nut allergies, who were served a variation of the standard plate — as well as bottomless pots of tea, and two tea favors. Homemade cat paw-shaped chocolate lollipops, and “Cat Whiskers”, a blooming tea from Thompson Tea Company, were the tea favors. Everyone seemed to have a great time, as well as enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Victorian house where the event was located, and the raffle and silent auction items. While the date is not set for next year’s event, and tickets will go on sale in early 2014, the next Cat Rescue Tea will be located at an even bigger restored Victorian mansion on North 3rd Street! Mark your calendars and buy your tickets soon after they go on sale next year, if you want to attend!

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
13th St. Cat Rescue
Cat Rescue Tea event webpage page
13th Street Cat Rescue Facebook page
Thompson Tea Company, Ltd.
Satori Tea Company
“Tea party for a cause”
“San Jose’s Cat Rescue tea party: a fundraiser you can put on for your favorite non-profit!”
“San Jose’s Cat Rescue Tea raises over $4,000 for local nonprofit!”
“13th Street Cats wraps up another afternoon tea fundraiser in downtown San Jose”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Are tea-drinkers automatically ‘teatotallers’?”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Review: Twinings Earl Grey tea”

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Filed under Events, Party Ideas, Tea, Vendors and Shops

Have a Valentine’s Day tea for two

"I'm all 'steamed' up over you my Valentine -- you suit me to a 'TEA'!"  Image: Denise LeCroy/Tea in England

“I’m all ‘steamed’ up over you my Valentine — you suit me to a ‘TEA’!” Image: Denise LeCroy/Tea in England

Tea shares a few qualities with some popular aphrodisiacs, like chocolate: it’s got antioxidants that are good for you! It’s not too late to put together a romantic tea-for-two for your sweetheart. You can do a high tea instead of going out to an expensive and crowded restaurant for dinner, or have tea and sweets for dessert afterwards. Pull your nicest things out of the tea party pantry, cozy up with a pot of tea, and you’ll be well on your way to a private little tea party.

First, choose a tea: both Satori Tea Bar and Lisa’s Tea Treasures sell rose-scented and other floral loose tea blends that would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day tea. Or, you can get some rose water or orange-flower water from the Middle Eastern food section of many local grocery stores, and add a teaspoon of that to your favorite black tea.  Next, put together some treats.  You can stir some chopped chocolate and dried cherries into your favorite scone recipe, or go to Nob Hill in Milpitas, or other higher-end grocery store and get a packaged scone mix, refrigerated pre-made scone dough, or even (at Bay Area Whole Foods stores), pre-made scones, as well as some cherry or raspberry jam to accompany them. Savories that include red foods, like roasted red peppers, are both tasty and festive. Chocolates, red velvet cupcakes (you can even buy red velvet cake mix in local grocery stores these days) and any other luxurious desserts are also welcome additions. Try making your own truffles, and infusing some chai spices in the cream, for a tasty twist!

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Surprise your loved one with tea and romance”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“How to use edible flowers for tisanes”
“Review: Vital Tea Leaf Angel green tea and Siberian Rose tisane”
“Tea-table recipe: rose-petal jam desserts”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“Aztec chocolate bread pudding to eat with tea”
“Making the most of a cup of restaurant tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
“Review: Passion blend from SerendipiTea”
“Shrewsbury Cakes: a Regency recipe to eat with tea in San Jose”
“Practice good manners in San Jose at the tea table”
“6 points of proper tea etiquette for San Jose”
“Review: Original English Tea Scones from Sconehenge Bakery”
Homemade truffles for Valentine’s Day

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Filed under Holiday, Party Ideas, Tea, Tips

Have a Christmas tea brunch!

image by healingdream.  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image by healingdream. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas morning in San Jose has dawned, and it’s rainy! Everybody, stay inside and enjoy a cozy Christmas morning brunch. Pull things out of your tea party pantry if you have to, but keep it as easy as possible so you can focus on enjoying your family and friends today. Keep the kettle on so you’ll have plenty of hot water for tea and hot chocolate, and let people stay in their pajamas and help themselves. Here are some menu suggestions:

Cranberry-orange tea
Orange spice tea
Pumpkin spice tea
Masala chai 
“Semi-homemade” chai

Cinnamon-raisin bread pudding
Spicy chocolate bread pudding

Turkey tea sandwiches

Add a pile of buttered toast, pull all of your jam out of the pantry and fridge, fill a casserole dish with scrambled eggs, heap a platter with bacon, maybe make a huge stack of pancakes, and you’ll be set for a great Christmas brunch for the next few hours. You can repeat your Christmas brunch whenever you want until the New Year (it’s a great way to use up leftovers from Christmas dinner) and it will still be in season! Remember, the “12 Days of Christmas” begin after Christmas Day.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Give an open house with a tea buffet”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Gift ideas for the San Jose tea-lover”
“5 gifts you can make with tea”
“Tea and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park”
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
“5 tea gifts to make for Christmas”
“Christmas gifts for the tea drinker”

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Filed under Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tea

More than 20 ways to have fun with tea

Take tea with you to the beach! Image: Nikolay Dimitriv, http://www.e-Cobo.com

The heat of summer has arrived in San Jose, and it’s definitely time for lots of iced tea! Traditional hot-brewed iced tea, as well as cold-brewed iced tea, along with bubble tea and iced chai, are perfect beverages to enjoy whether you’re lazing on the beach at Santa Cruz or sitting at your desk in San Jose. When you get a bit of free time, tea can also entertain you, and even make you laugh! Here are some fun and funny ways to pass the time with tea:

Music:
“Tea is for me” song
“Cup of Brown Joy” rap song
“O Blessed Holy Caffeine Tree” song
“The Tea Rap” from the Tea Cup Mafia (WARNING: contains profanity)
Red Rose Tea Chimps commercial from the 1940s
Red Rose Tea commercial from 1989

Free Online Games:
“Death by Caffeine” calculator (ever wondered how many cups of tea you would have to drink, in order to kill yourself with caffeine?)
Bigelow Tea Matching Game
“Delicious – Emily’s Tea Garden” online game
“High Tea” online history game
“Boston Tea Party” online history game
“Tea Drinks” online game
“Tea Party” online game for children
“Hello Kitty’s Tea Party” online game for children
“Alice’s Tea Party” online game for children
“Tea Game for Girls” online game for children
“Mind Your Manners Tea Party” Strawberry Shortcake online game for children

Recipes:
“Darjeeling Unlimited” cocktail recipe from Food & Wine Magazine
“Kentucky Derby-themed tea cocktails”
“Raspberry-Basil Tea Spritzer” recipe
“Pomegranite tea punch” recipe

Please note: these online games haven’t been tested, so I don’t know if they are all as fun as they sound, but the Death By Caffeine calculator is pretty funny, as are the tea-related songs. You can add some tea ice cream to your summer tea recreation and give yourself a mini-vacation, taking some time to escape everyday life, right here in San Jose. Where to find tea ice cream? Usually, Nob Hill in Milpitas and Safeway carry Haagen-Dazs green tea ice cream, and Zanotto’s in the Rose Garden carries green tea ice cream from Marianne’s in Santa Cruz, as does Cosentino’s in Willow Glen. Barring that, check at any Asian grocery store and you should be able to find green tea ice cream as well as ice cream-filled mochi in their freezer section. Stay cool and have fun with tea!

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Ease the first-day-of-school jitters with a tea party”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“Bubble tea: one of San Jose’s most popular drinks”
“Review: Whittard of Chelsea’s Summer Pudding Tea”

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Daily children’s tea time: not just for San Jose-area home-schoolers!

Summer tea parties with children in San Jose don’t have to be this formal!

Now that the elementary and middle schools in San Jose are ending, local parents are looking for easy, economical things to do with the kids. Sure, you can go to the beach, but that takes planning, not to mention gas money. Museums are great, but they can take up the whole day if you want to see everything. Amusement parks are fun, but they’re expensive and crowded, and should our kids really watch T.V. all summer? This is where all of San Jose can take a hint from the local home-school community, and create Daily Reading Hour for kids at home, and include a children’s Tea Time. Your tea party pantry can help a lot, especially if you keep simple shortbread cookies, bread and various spreads in it.

Reading Hour or Quiet Hour is a good thing to have in the afternoons, when it’s too hot to go outside, the kids are bored, and you don’t have any other plans. All that is needed is an adult in the home who can keep everyone safe and stop any sibling squabbles, a bookcase or box of age-appropriate books from the library, and a quiet couch, set of beanbags, floor pillows or chairs in an indoor or outdoor area with adequate shade or lighting, where the kids can lounge and read for a while. Soft, relaxing music from the radio, an iPod, CD player or other device, especially those “ocean waves” music CDs from stores like Target, can be a good addition. Give everyone some iced tea or ice water with lemon or a slice of fresh fruit in it, and let everyone chill out and read.

Follow up Reading Hour with Family Afternoon Tea – simply with iced tea (you can use a caffeine-free tisane, or real black tea with lots of ice to dilute it) and a few packaged cookies, crackers and cheese or other afternoon snack – where everyone sits down together and tells everyone else what they were reading and what they liked or didn’t like about the book.  Spend just 20 minutes or so talking together, making sure the kids mind their manners, and you give everyone a relaxing break in the day.

Several kids need help with reading during the school year, and many local schools have cut down on classic literature, art, history, and life skills like cooking, first aid, and good manners. Many local kids also go through a lot of intensive summer school classes, and need time to unwind as much as the adults do! Do all of that at the tea table, casually reviewing reading, art, poetry, history and life skills at home. You can have your Reading Hour and Family Tea in the morning before you all leave, or in the evening when you all get home, or bring books and treats to a public park or garden. Change up the books in the bookcase or box every week or so, and by the end of the summer, the kids will have enjoyed structured and un-structured time, spent some time every day – or at least once a week – with an adult, practicing making conversation and other social skills, reading a variety of books, and they’ll have less of a struggle getting back into the swing of things when they go back to school.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Homeschool Teatime: the “Girly” thing I did for my boys”
“Homeschool Hours: Independent Reading & Tea Time”
“Tea Time”
“Poetry and Tea”
Nursery Rhymes (including some about tea)
“Is it too warm to sleep? Try soothing orange-blossom mint tisane”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“How to use edible flowers for tisanes”
“Tea 101: how to have a tea party for children”
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Ease the first-day-of-school jitters with a tea party”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“Practice good manners in San Jose at the tea table”
“6 points of proper tea etiquette for San Jose”

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Filed under Holiday, Party Ideas, Tips

Memorial Day in San Jose is better with tea.

view of Golden Gate National Cemetery on Memorial Day, 2011. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

San Jose-area residents are largely unaware of California’s individual contribution to the Civil War, World War 2, and think of Memorial Day as simply the kick-off to summer funMemorial Day was introduced in the 1870s to honor all those who were lost in the Civil War, and to help re-unite the nation by honoring both Union and Confederate soldiers.  It has since been expanded into a holiday for honoring all U.S. soldiers, dead or alive.  While the main conflicts of the Civil War occurred far away from San Jose, California did see local skirmishes between Union and Confederate sympathizers.  The Union received large donations of California gold, which greatly supported the war effort.  California’s brand-new state legislature also sent multiple companies of men to serve in the Union army; most ended up replacing more experienced soldiers stationed at army forts in the Northwest and Southwest, but a few companies saw action on the front lines by joining up with the Pennsylvania and other Northern states’ militias.  San Jose’s Oak Hill cemetery has its own collection of local Civil War heroes, but since all veterans are honored on Memorial Day, all local cemeteries will be decorated with American flags for the holiday.

Since tea parties are perfect settings for conversation, reminiscing, and honoring tradition, why not get together with family and friends on Sunday or Monday to remember and honor any veterans you know?  Add tea to your barbecue at home or at a local park or public garden.  Iced tea is a great addition to the traditional Memorial Day – the beginning of a long season of outdoor cooking and entertaining in the Santa Clara Valley – but hot tea might be just as welcome during this windy and cool holiday! Black tea pairs well with many traditional summer foods, like barbecued meat and grilled vegetables.  Don’t forget the green tea ice cream and the iced chai!  American beer fans can enjoy tea, as they do in the U.K.

There are lots of other things to celebrate and enjoy on Memorial Day weekend in San Jose, as well.  Bring a Steampunk tea picnic to San Jose’s Doubletree Hotel for the Clockwork Academy conference that runs through Monday.  Visit Roaring Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains for their annual Civil War reenactment.  When we celebrate Memorial Day, we tell our brave veterans that their sacrifice is valuable and appreciated.  Pull out some things from your tea party pantry and put together a picnic or barbecue to thank them all for our freedom!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea

For more information:
“Have a 1940s style tea party”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Celebrate the Fourth of July with a tea party picnic!”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Barbecue with tea for Labor Day”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“Bring a ‘steampunk’ tea to Santa Clara’s Steampunk Exhibition”
“Memorial Day in San Jose calls for iced tea”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“5 teas for San Jose’s beer fans”

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Filed under Events, History, Holiday, Menus, Tips

What is proper tea etiquette?

A perfectly set, formal afternoon tea place setting, at Kensington Palace. Image: Bit Boy, Wikimedia Commons.

Proper tea etiquette – or table manners in general – not only makes you a more pleasant person to be around, but considers other people by avoiding spreading germs and making a mess. Hopefully these “dos and don’ts” are common sense and easy to understand! Here are some of the details of good tea table etiquette, when you’re taking tea at a tea shop, or at home:

  1. Do offer to pour the cups of tea for your friend or friends.
  2. Add milk to your tea, if you like, but not cream. Cream is too rich and covers up the flavor of the tea. It doesn’t matter whether the milk or the tea goes into your cup first.
  3. Do use the utensils like sugar tongs, lemon forks or serving spoons, to serve yourself or others from shared containers, instead of your fingers or your personal teaspoon or fork. Remember to include these items when stocking your tea party pantry!
  4. When serving yourself some jam or other scone toppings, use the serving spoon or knife to place a small amount on the side of your plate, and then use your personal spoon or knife to spread your jam, cream, etc. on your scone.
  5. When eating your scone, break the scone in half, and only spread one bite-sized section at a time, with the toppings, instead of the entire half-scone.  It helps keep jam, cream, etc. off your face as you’re eating!
  6. Do try to make as little noise as possible when stirring your tea, drinking your tea, or eating your food.
  7. Do place your spoon on your saucer after stirring your tea, instead of on your plate or on the tablecloth.
  8. Do hold your teacup by the handle, either pinching it in between your thumb and first finger, or putting your finger through the handle and supporting the cup with your thumb on top of the handle and your third finger under the handle.
  9. Don’t stick your pinky up or out when holding your cup of tea. It is an affectation which is more prissy than polite, plus it compromises your grasp on the teacup’s handle, which is unsafe.
  10. Don’t turn your teacup upside down on your saucer to indicate when you’ve had enough tea; you will drip tea on the tablecloth!

Teatime is about relaxation, being considerate, and comforting others as you enjoy the comfort of the tea and treats.  That’s not so hard to do!  There are many tea books on the market, including etiquette guidebooks, that can give you more detailed pointers if you want them.  Why not practice good manners over a cup of tea?

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Where to buy books about tea in San Jose”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
“Etiquette and manners for the 21st century”

“Afternoon tea vs. high tea”
“The great napkin debate of 2009 continues”
“How to set a table”
“Tea and etiquette”
“Etiquette Faux Pas and Other Misconceptions About Afternoon Tea” by Ellen Easton
“The Gift of Good Manners” by Ellen Easton
“Tea Times – Milk or Lemon for your Tea?” from the Stash Tea blog
“Let’s give a tea party” video from 1940s
“Arranging the tea table” video from 1946
Tea exhibit at Fowler Museum at UCLA

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Filed under Tea, Tips, Uncategorized