It’s called Tea Time Tutorial for a reason. Let’s have tea!

A woman recently told me that although she loved tea, she felt silly asking her friends to come over for an afternoon tea. Maybe it’s because she’s afraid her friends will think it’s strange or maybe she’s never given a party before. And that’s why I’m here—to help you get over that hesitancy and give your first tea party.

If you’re a newbie at party giving, let me assure you that we all started small. I suggest starting very small by inviting just one other person. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can expand your circle to two friends and so on. But let’s begin at the beginning—a very basic tea.

What you need for a very basic tea:

  • 1 friend who likes tea
  • 2 mugs or cups and saucers
  • 2 teaspoons
  • napkins
  • Tea
  • A way to boil water on the stove/electric kettle
  • Milk and sweetener—maybe a lemon sliced in rounds
  • An hour of your time
  • A packet of cookies (optional but very nice)

Next Steps

  1. Contact your friend and set a date and time for tea.
  2. Decide where you’ll hold the tea. I suggest around your dining room or kitchen table. Don’t have either? Then it’s the living room and you can use TV trays or other low tables to set cups on. Tea is always best in a comfortable setting.
  3. If you’ve always made tea in the microwave, PLEASE try boiling water on the stove! Water boiled on the stove tastes different from microwaved water and since tea is mostly water taste matters! Practice with stove-boiled water before the day of your tea.
  4. If your drink-ware isn’t a matched set, no big deal. All it needs to be is able to hold hot tea.
  5. Use your favorite tea. Don’t have a favorite? Try a sampler box (like this or this) from the grocery store or ask your tea drinking friend what she likes or what she’d suggest.
  6. While my preference is for non-chocolate cookies with my tea, your mileage may vary. I recommend a plain cookie so the taste of the tea is still evident.

On the day of the tea, set the scene by clearing off the flat surface you’ll be using. If you have a nice tablecloth or cover, you might use that; placemats work fine too and protect the table. Set out the sugar, milk, lemon slices, teaspoons, napkins, and an empty saucer for disposing used teabags. Put some cookies on a plate and arrange them as nicely as possible. 15 minutes before your friend is due, put the water on to boil and get out the teabags. If you have a thermos, save the leftover boiled water in there for your next cups of tea. Once your friend arrives, and settles in, make and serve the tea. Turn off your phones, put them away and enjoy each other’s company for an hour or so.

Congratulations! You’ve just hosted your first afternoon tea!


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