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Posted by Cayla Capri
Tea For Two (And A Wedding Party)
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With its crystalline hues, tea looks just as pretty as it tastes and will partner up perfectly with a buffet of delicate treats and vibrant fruit. Tea soothes and it thaws, and it’s ranking as the world’s second most popular beverage is a shocker-not. But its commonness never negates from its special flavor, exquisite aroma or uncanny ability to class-up any affair. When adding tea to your reception’s repertoire, you’re adding flavor and warmth.
warm up your wedding
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There are a few ways you can go about incorporating this “finer thing” into your wedding day. You may want to throw a tea-party-type wedding shower, adding a dash of elegance with an English Garden theme, complete with fresh fruit, fluffy pastry and finger sandwiches, or a touch of playfulness with a “flash from the past” feel, complete with fun, frilly dresses, yummy cookies and of course, your old dolls! You could also serve tea during dessert as an alternative to coffee, or send guests home with pretty, ornately designed tins of tea leaves as party favors.
know your teas
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Before choosing your wedding-perfect teas, you may want a little more background info on the tasty drink. Basically, there are four types of tea: black, green, oolong and white. They all come from the leaves of a plant called camellia sinensis, but what differentiates one from the other is the amount of time they spend fermenting (how long the exposed enzymes from a torn leaf are open to the air) before they’re laid to dry. Black tea is the most processed, with oolong coming in second, while green and white tea are not fermented at all, but instead are kept intact, dried, and then steamed or fried. The two unfermented teas contain the least amount of caffeine, contain the most significant amount of anti-oxidants (cancer-fighting properties) and taste most like the plant they came from.
You definitely want to take the caffeine-factor into consideration once you decide on the “tea-time” - black or white, it all depends on whether you want to perk up those sleepy guests once the seven-course meal has been devoured, or wind that party down once the midnight sweet table has arrived (and induced a serious, party-wide sugar-rush!)
tisanes - sweetening the pot
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Herbal tea is sort of a false advertisement: it’s not technically “tea” because it doesn’t come from camellia sinensis. Herbal teas are basically any sort of herb, flower, plant root or seed steeped in boiling water. They don’t contain the same health benefits as real tea, but because of the endless possibility of ingredients, many contain their own upshots, such as ginseng for energy and gingerroot for stomach troubles.
Because we’re getting ready to party-down here, you’re probably less concerned about health benefits and more concerned with yumminess, (although, that gingerroot tea sure will come in handy the morning after!) Tisanes are perfect for this because they come in every flavor imaginable – from vanilla to apricot to cinnamon to liquorice to rosehip to passionfruit – and in every conceivable combination. Sweet, spicy and tangy teas will best compliment a tray of desserts.
A little extra advice:
Serve colorful tisanes in tall, clear glasses for some added beauty and style.
Set up an arrangement of loose tea (dried leaves, dried flowers, seeds etc. sans the little satchel) in pretty wooden bowls with teeny serving spoons on a Lazy Susan.
There are a few websites out there that let you create and order your own speciality tisanes, so be sure to check them out!
get imaginative
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Scented/Flavored Tea- All the benefits of real tea with a little added “kick,” like black tea with currant or green tea with citrus. With the addition of the fruit peels, flower petals or whatever you decide to toss in, your tea will smell heavenly and look decorative.
Flowering Tea- A threaded cluster of tea leaves and flowers. Immerse it in hot water a watch the petals unwind and the leaves spread out just like a flower in blossom. A clear teapot is a must for this pretty little demonstration!
Iced Tea- Just as delicious as hot tea, heaps more refreshing, and, depending on how honey-happy you get with that stirring spoon, a tad-bit sweeter. To appease varying degrees of sweet-teeth, prepare a tray with tiny pots of white sugar, artificial sweeteners and honey to sit beside that punch-bowl of invigorating iced tea.
Chai Tea – Chai Latte- A potent black tea made fiery with spices and tamed with milk and sugar. The spices, (typically a mix and match of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, rose, star anise and peppercorn) combined together with the sweet sugar and the whole milk work together to create a rich, full-bodied savory drink.
Bubble Tea (Pearl Milk Tea) – Hot or iced tea with drowned tapioca balls coating the bottom, bubble tea is flavored with milk, fruit-flavoring, real fruit smoothie or even ice cream, making for a colorful, unique drink that adds a bubbly bit of fun to your sweet table!