How to throw a British Afternoon Tea for your besties
There is nothing more British than the quintessential afternoon tea. It’s a constant that has always brought people together, regardless of any language or cultural barriers. With the solution to any problem always involving putting the kettle on, sharing sadness and joy over a hot drink is a comforting, nurturing ritual. Yes, pouring someone a cup of tea is a sign of true friendship, so it’s time to throw a royal afternoon tea party for your besties that could rival that of even The Savoy or The Ritz!
Recently we discovered that not all teas are created equal. Far from it. Most teas are sprayed with pesticides, meaning that if your tea isn’t organic, you’re essentially drinking a pesticide cocktail! When selecting a tea, smell the dry leaves. Does it have any aroma? Are the leaves broken and dusty or whole and fresh? Is the green tea actually a green colour? Does the infused tea have a distinct flavour?
Only the best for your gal pals, Baraka Teas will tick all the boxes! You won’t find any added flavourings or herbs here, just pure, fresh leaves sourced direct from ethical tea farms around the globe! Another important factor you might not have thought about is the quality of the water being poured over your tea. Tap water often has a harsh smell of chlorine, which will affect the flavour of your tea. Your guests will taste the difference if you use spring, or at least filtered, water.
If your royal afternoon tea is to be a success, the individual tastes of your guests need to be catered for. A Sikkim Black tea infuses quickly as the leaves are small; it doesn’t need milk as it’s so delicate. The large, whole leaves of a Malawi Peony White tea will never go bitter, no matter how long you infuse them for. Four minutes will give a lovely subtle taste, whereas six to eight minutes will give a much more robust flavour. Try infusing it multiple times to see how the flavour changes each time!
In order to allow the little pearls of an Indonesian Green Pearl tea to expand into large leaves, you’ll need a teapot. To add to the glamour of the occasion, invest in a glass teapot to show off the beauty of the leaves. In order to avoid the risk of scalding the leaves, make sure your water is no hotter than 80-90˚C. Capturing a pure, fresh taste without the bitterness, a Malawi Green tea also needs water at about 80˚C. Use one full teaspoon per person and infuse for about 2 minutes or longer if you prefer slightly more astringency.
‘Have you ever tried drinking a fine Darjeeling out of a mug?’, Baraka Teas founder Anna Petts asks us. ‘It just isn’t the same as drinking it from a fine bone china cup and saucer!’ Choosing the correct crockery will not only show off the fine tea you’re serving, but actively enhance your guests’ tea party experience. Glass or porcelain are ideal; if you’re planning on hosting an event with a traditional afternoon black tea, finger sandwiches and scones, then a fine bone china tea set is vital.
Alternatively, Chinese teas can be served in a beautiful glass gong fu tea set, which is elegant and contemporary, while bringing out the best flavour in the tea!
Tea taken care of, it’s time for the treats! Think of those afternoon teas at the Ritz or Claridges and you can’t help but conjure up images of tantalising little bites sitting delicately a top a multi-tiered cake stand. The Sikkim Black tea really cleanses the palate, so works perfectly with both savoury snacks or traditional sweet treats like scones. With strong apricot notes, your Malawi Peony White tea really packs a punch, so it matches well with fruity deserts such as mango and chocolate, or apricot tarts.
As a delicate, floral tea, the Indonesian Pearl pairs well with light meats and fruits. Try chicken canapés and mini mousses. Having been steamed in a traditional Japanese style, the Malawi Green tea has a slightly iodine, yet fruity taste. As a result, serve with sushi to enhance the seafood flavours. If you want to stick with more traditional tea time treats, try less sweet pastries or finger sandwiches and stone fruits such as plums.