Informal Afternoon Tea

Informal Afternoon Tea

The Informal Tea is usually attended by no more than ten guests. It is held between two to five in the afternoon and can take place in the living room or dining room. During warmer weather, you might consider having your tea on the lawn or patio.

Teas to Serve

Traditional teas will compliment most foods that you choose to serve your guests. For those Informal Tea who may be caffeine sensitive, many traditional teas come in a decaffeinated form. Bigelow Tea is a Specialty Tea company. We carry a delicious assortment of traditional teas along with flavored teas. Flavored teas are black teas with added flavors. . Herbal teas do not contain tea. They are a combination of herbs, spices, flowers or fruit and are 100% caffeine free.

Making the Perfect Cup of Tea

Run cold water from the tap for at least one minute to clear stale water from the pipes and aerate the water. Do no re-use water sitting in your kettle. Perfect Cup If you live in an area where the water is heavily treated you can use bottled water. Be sure to shake the bottle to aerate or oxygenate the water, or your tea could have a flat taste. It's the oxygen in the water that opens up the tea leaf for full flavor extraction. Bring your teacup or teapot to the kettle while the water is boiling. If using a teapot, pre-warm it by rinsing with hot water. A cold pot could take away from the brewing process. When the water comes to a rolling boil (do not overboil) pour it over the tea bag or tea leaves. Use one tea bag or one-rounded teaspoon of loose tea per cup. If you like stronger tea, add an extra bag for the pot. Make sure you do not over-brew the tea. Follow the package directions, or you could get a bitter taste. Green tea is more delicate. Bring the water to the boiling point (185 degrees) and not to a rolling boil. For iced-tea: prepare as hot tea, but use 50% more tea to allow for melting ice. Let the tea cool, then add ice before serving. Bigelow makes iced tea bags that contain a special blend of tea for brewing.

The Table Setting

The table should be set with a cloth tablecloth (linen is nice if you have one) and napkins. You can serve buffet style or guests can be seated around the table. The food can be arranged Table Setting around a centerpiece that can be a small vase of flowers, a basket of seasonal fruit, or food that is placed on a three-tiered cake stand and used as the centerpiece.

If you serve buffet style, the tea service should be at one end of the table and the food arranged at the other end of the table. The guests are served tea by the hostess and help themselves to the food. Make sure you have a dish to deposit the used tea bags.

items you will need for your table are teapots (you might want to use more than one if serving more than one flavor), teacups, plates, teaspoons and cake forks, cloth table cloth and napkins, or pretty paper napkins, a dish for used tea bags, strainer if serving loose tea, pitcher of milk (do not serve cream as it could cause the tea to curdle or alter the taste), small plate for lemon slices, sugar or artificial sweetener, and a dish for the used tea bags and loose tea. Follow the tea package directions. If your guests are choosing their own tea bag, place several flavors or types of tea into a basket or tea chest for their selection. You will need to provide the hot water with an extra pot as backup.

Food Suggestions

  • Tartlets
  • Fruits such as strawberries
  • Cookies
  • Scones
  • Small pastel frosted cakes
  • Petitsfours
  • Light deserts

See our online Recipes for more ideas!

Tea Suggestions

  • Chinese Oolong
  • English Teatime
  • French Vanilla
  • Lemon Lift
  • Green Tea
  • Perfect Peach Herb Tea
  • Mint Medley Herb Tea
  • Orange & Spice Herb Tea
  • Red Raspberry Herb Tea

Join Our Community

Enter your email address below and be the first to know about sales, special promotions and receive our newsletter!

© 2014 R.C. Bigelow, Inc.
To order by phone, call toll free: 1-888-BIGELOW (1-888-244-3569)
Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm (EST)