The History of Tea Parties
Teatime Traditions Around the World
Tea has been consumed for centuries around the world. Although most people associate teatime and tea drinking with England, this drink has been enjoyed all throughout history by people in China, India, and other parts of the world. While many people in America consume tea for its caffeine benefits, tea also has medicinal uses and has long been used in healing and enhancing overall health. Black tea is the most common type of tea consumed in the west; however, green tea, white tea, and many herbal teas are quickly becoming popular.
How Different Countries Enjoy Tea
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The history of tea can be traced back to Imperial China, and the Japanese Tea Ceremony was, and still is, a big part of the culture and everyday life in the Far East. The tea served during these ceremonies is an assortment of green and black teas, and the host of the ceremony makes sure the teapot and glasses are arranged in a special way and served at just the right time, in the right place. The full presentation is known as the “Chaji,” and is a way to welcome guests and enjoy a healthy drink. It also has a spiritual significance, and Japanese tea houses summon guests to the tea house by sounding a gong or evening bell as the ceremony begins.
Teatime Around the World
In America, tea is consumed throughout the day, and often as an alternative to coffee. Here you’ll find an assortment of herbal teas, green tea, white tea, and other exotic imports, along with the classic British Breakfast or Earl Grey. It’s common to find Chai at most coffee shops and teahouses in the U.S. Chai is a combination of sweet milk, spices, and black tea that is commonly served in Asia.
|A completely different event takes place on the British Isles. After England began importing tea from Asia, serving tea in the late afternoon and hosting tea parties soon became a part of life. Tea parties here usually involved only black tea served with sugar, along with an assortment of savory and sweet snacks. The tradition continues to this day, and you’ll find afternoon tea served at many restaurants and bistros in England. People will also invite you over for tea, which means you can fill up on classic English baked goods, miniature sandwiches, and other savory snacks. |
In India and other countries in Southeast Asia, tea is served in a similar manner. This is largely due to the British influence of India during the 1850s to late 1940s, and continues today with tea served in the late afternoon. Still, it is a part of the culture when entertaining guests; tea is commonly served with biscuits (crunchy cookies), desserts, and savory snacks.
How to Have Your Own Tea Party
If you’re anxious to get started on your own tea ceremony or tea party, here are the key things you’ll need:
- Assortment of teas
- Tea pot
- Tea cups
- Sweetener (sugar, honey, or artificial sweetener)
- Cream or milk
- Savory snacks
- Sweet snacks (baked goods, cookies, and small cakes)
- A serving tray
You can bake the sweet and savory items ahead of time if you are hosting a large gathering, and set them up for serving on a large platter or banquet tray. You’ll need to boil some hot water for the teapot, and arrange the assortment of tea bags for each guest to choose from. When it’s time to make a cup of tea, just pour hot water over the chosen tea bag and let it steep for at least 3-5 minutes. Then add sweetener and cream to taste, and enjoy!
Article Written By: Sabah Karimi; Sabah writes on fashion, style, and beauty for DivaVillage. You can find her sipping a cup of British Breakfast tea on any given afternoon.