Everything You Need for a Great Summer Tea Party

By July 8, 2016 Cocktails, Mocktails & More

Summer is the perfect time to head outdoors to enjoy the weather, good friends, and great tea. While the idea of a tea party may seem old fashioned, it’s actually part of the appeal — it’s a great traditional way to enjoy fantastic food, drinks, and company.

Also, certain tea varieties have been associated with benefits like reducing your risk of heart attack or stroke and helping in weight loss. Thus, if you’re looking for a healthier and more family-friendly option than heading to the bar for drinks, a tea party is the perfect solution!

Although it might seem easy to throw together a quick summer tea party, it does require some preparation to maintain that civilized air for which tea parties are famous.

AOTL11846 1

Finger Foods are Fabulous!

One of the best parts about tea parties — other than the delicious tea — is that you get to nibble on tasty small appetizers or miniaturized entrees. There are tons of healthy finger food recipes and you could even encourage friends to bring their own finger foods to share. Some of our favorites include tea truffles and matcha cupcakes!

Pick appetizers that aren’t too messy and can be picked up easily with two fingers. Also, provide small napkins and plates. This allows guests to choose whether they will walk around with their napkin or sit down with their plate of goodies.

AOTL12084 1

Always, Always Provide Amazing Tea

The tea is vitally important in any tea party. Many summer-time guests enjoy cold tea, but you may want to have warm tea options as well. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Provide a variety of flavors with varied sweetness to appeal to more guests
  • Consider pointing out the health options of particular kinds of tea as a display
  • Be sure to include the classics like sweet tea and black iced tea
  • Make sure you label all your flavors
  • Consider offering a refreshing twist of fresh mint available

Tea parties are a great way to experiment with new tea flavors and blends. You can also test out which foods pair best with which teas as well. Here are a few delightful recommendations:

AOTL11860 1

Pull Out the Fancy Cutlery

Part of the attraction of a tea party is that it’s just plain “fancy.” To make your tea party elegant, share some “fancy” dishes and utensils. If you don’t have dishes like this, it might be fun to head to your local thrift store to pick out unique dishes.

There is no need for them to match — that could be part of the fun! At the end, guests can take home their dishes if they would like so you do not have tons of mismatched dishes laying around.

Request Old-Fashioned Attire

Finally, to add an extra layer of tradition, you could encourage your guests to come dressed in their Sunday best. This adds to the elegant ambiance. You could also take it a step further and ask guests to come in costume — including old fashioned dresses. (Just consider whether this request might deter some friends and family from attending.)

Tea parties are a great, unique way to get friends and family together and you’ll have an absolutely fabulous summer tea party if you follow these quick suggestions. Go ahead and call all your loved ones together and enjoy a different kind of party on a beautiful day.

You Might Also Like

How To Make A Healthier Sweet Tea

By July 6, 2016 Brewing Tea

Sweet tea is as famous in the South as “southern hospitality.” When you think of this drink, you can’t help but conjure images of lazy summer afternoons on a local patio. But it’s not just a great drink! In fact, sweet tea also has some really amazing health benefits.

The best southern sweet tea is made from black tea leaves. Black, green, and oolong teas are actually all from the Camellia Sinensis plant — black tea, however, is made with different amounts of fermentation than green or oolong tea. The quintessential dark tea is fully fermented before drying, which results in the deeper color and flavor that sweet tea is known for.

AofT_test 1020

Health Benefits of Sweet Tea

Like a daily multivitamin, sweet tea contains important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. While sweet tea won’t replace nutritional supplements, getting nutrition from whole food sources like tea is important for a well-rounded diet.

Feeling low on energy? Black tea offers a gentle infusion of energy without the jitteriness that might come from coffee. Also, in various studies, caffeine has been associated with higher metabolism, increased fat oxidation, and better endurance during exercise.

The flavonoids found in black tea have been associated with benefits to your cardiovascular health. German researchers suggested that it could reduce or prevent clogged arteries while providing anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering properties.

The longer fermentation time of black tea also results in two powerful compounds — theaflavins and thearubigins — which may have additional associated benefits. More research is needed, but it’s very cool to learn what exists so far!

For the best refreshing, brisk, and yummy Sweet Tea, try our Classic Black Tea. Winner of “Best Black Iced Tea” at the World Tea Expo, we carefully hand-blended bright Nilgiri tea with smooth, rich Yunnan golden buds to create a supremely classic infusion for the perfect beverage.

How to Brew The Perfect Sweet Tea

There is a fine art to brewing the perfect sweet tea. The key is steep time and it’s the most guarded secret south of the Mason Dixon Line. Here’s your guide to making a really great and authentic sweet tea:

Ingredients:
  • 1 ounce organic Classic Black tea
  • 1 1/8 cup organic unbleached cane sugar
  • 12 cups purified or Spring water
  • Ice
  • 1 gallon glass pitcher
  • Strainer
Directions:

Bring water to a boil in a pot. Once the water is boiling, add your Classic Black Tea and remove the pot from heat. Stir the water with a non-metal spoon for 30 seconds.

Steep the leaves in the hot water for exactly 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The tea will take on a bitter taste if steeped for longer.

Add ice and sugar to the pitcher. After the brewing time is up, pour the tea through the strainer and into the pitcher. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until cold.

Grab a glass, fill it with ice, and pour in the chilled sweet tea. Don’t forget to garnish with a lemon wedge.

Tips, Tricks, And Substitutions

Avoid having sugar at the bottom of your pitcher by making a simple syrup while the tea is steeping. In a glass, mix the granulated cane sugar with 2 cups of hot water. Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add this over the ice in the pitcher before adding the hot tea. (The person that gets the last glass of tea will be thankful for this trick!)

For an even healthier sweet tea, substitute the organic cane sugar with ¾ cup agave or raw honey. Or try one of our naturally flavored iced teas like our Summer Peach Iced Tea, which includes sweet, sun-ripened peaches to bring out a fruity and crisp flavor without needing sugar or other addons.

Want to spice up your sweet tea? Add a slice of orange and a cinnamon stick while the tea is cooling in the refrigerator. Discard the orange and cinnamon once the tea is cool.

Next time your friends are over you can serve them a glass of this southern sweet tea and get a ton of compliments. You can also feel free to experiment with healthier sugars and even toss in some mint leaves to make sweet tea with an unexpected twist.

You don’t have to be Southern to love sweet tea, but you do have to love a great, anytime drink that’s easy to make and hard not to love!

You Might Also Like

Feeling Stressed? Try These 4 Easy Techniques

By June 29, 2016 Health & Lifestyle

We all feel stressed at some point: work, school, family, finances… when it adds up, it can negatively affect your health, sleep, diet choices, and relationships. But it doesn’t have to control you — in fact, if you face your stress with healthy techniques, you’ll gain relief, a sense of calm, and some peace of mind throughout even the toughest days.

Read on for the four easy things you can do to say goodbye to stress.

AOTL10983 1

Try Exercise or Yoga

One of the best ways to clear your head and reduce stress is to exercise. We’ve all heard the old saying that when you’re upset, you should “walk it off.” Well, if you’re feeling mad about something someone said to you or something that happened at work, you could try a long jog — this will help you burn off that steam while potentially giving you some space to think about what happened. (It’ll also give you “runner’s high” when the beta-endorphins kick in.)

You could also try lifting some weights or taking a spin class. The key is to focus on the task at hand, stay in the present, give your mind a rest, and let your body do the work. You’ll have chance to forget what happened so you don’t come back to the situation feeling angry.

Meditate

Many people find meditation reduces stress levels. Yet it doesn’t have to be done traditionally; you can do it however you want. If you want to sit in a cross-legged position and focus, awesome! But if you want to just lie in your bed and unwind, that’s works too.

The key is to take the time to pause, clear your thoughts, and be objective: it might just be all you need to conquer any form of stress.

Add Breathing Techniques

Another great way of handling stress is with slow-breathing techniques. These are especially helpful for extremely stressful situations when you’re dealing with something difficult in that very moment.

Breathing slowly allows you to regulate your heart rate while giving you something to concentrate on. Try taking seven slow deep breaths with long exhales. When you feel super stressed, you tend to breathe faster and shallower, but by encouraging yourself to breathe slower, you will create some space for calm and relaxation.

Have a Relaxing Cup of Tea

Tea is a great ritual to take a step out of this world and relax. First, just taking the time to be fully present while heating your water and making your tea can act as a form of meditation. (For that reason, we created the “8 Minute Digitox” to give you some peace of mind during the day.) Second, the right kind of tea will give your insides a warm bath that relaxes and invigorates. Try our Chill Out Tea and Egyptian Chamomile to ease the mind and soothe the soul.

Try our tips: you’ll be thankful you did and you’ll be stress free in no time!

You Might Also Like