Hosting an Afternoon Tea Party with family and friends can be a lot of fun, even during Covid-19 conditions. Meeting outdoors and keeping a safe distance with adequate fresh air ventilation remains good practice, or arrange your afternoon tea virtually so you can include a larger number over winter months.
You could also try having a Garden-style Cafe Afternoon Tea party during the warmer months, where family or friends stay in their groups, similar to going to a cafe or restaurant, but set up the pots of tea prior to their arrival so to minimise close contact. For Covid-19 recommended practices, see also our Covid-19 guidelines.
Here are our top tips for planning an Afternoon Tea Party
- Select a date and send out your invitations. Depending on the reason for your party your invitation can range from a very casual invite to a formal invitation. Include a tea bag in a more casual invite for fun and to set the tone for your party.
- Purchase your tea and related accessories.
- You may want to have several teapots to brew a variety of teas for your guests.
- Review recipes for teatime sandwiches and treats. (see our sample menus)
- At most tea parties there will be a selection of both savoury and sweet bites to satisfy both kinds of appetites.
- If your tea party is an in-between meal, you will only need a small selection of bites.
- If your tea party takes the place of a full meal, you’ll want to offer a greater selection. This was traditionally called a high tea where a hearty meal of dishes such as cheese on toast or a selection of meats and bread, all served with a cup or mug of tea.
- Plan your menu. Include both savoury and sweet food.
- Brew and serve a proper pot of tea. Accompany the tea selections with sweeteners, lime and lemon slices to accommodate the varied tastes of your guests.
- Relax and enjoy your guests while musing on the merits of tea.
Selection of Teas to choose from
Offer a variety of teas, such as Earl Grey, Chai, Peppermint, Camomile, fruit, herbal and, of course, English Breakfast.
If it is very hot weather, you might like to try some iced-teas. They can be a simple green tea with ice, a fruit-based tea with fruit such as raspberries, peaches, nectarines, or peppermint flavoured tea with fresh herbs, fruit or vegetables such as mint, lemon, lime or cucumber.
The Classic Selection of sandwiches with Tea includes;
Remember to use a variety of whole-grain bread, such as rye, wholemeal, whole-wheat, pumpernickel and corn, to make it a healthier selection.
- Egg mayonnaise with cress
- Smoked salmon with cream cheese
- Coronation chicken
- Ham and mustard
- Goat’s cheese, walnut & roasted pepper
- Lemony cucumber & prawn
- Creamy egg & cress
- Carrot & cucumber sandwiches
Choose fruit-based cakes and biscuits to accompany
Bread-style bakes such as fruit bread, malt loaf, currant buns, crumpets, bagels and English muffins are usually healthier than cakes and biscuits. Try some of these suggestions to improve the nutritional contribution to your diet.
- Carrot cake with cream cheese icing, granola and pumpkin seeds
- Lemon cake
- Fresh Fruit and cream cheese on a bun
- Courgette loaf
- Cheese, onion, pumpkin and spinach scones
- Sticky lemon polenta cake
Example menu might look like
- Cucumber, dill and cream cheese club sandwich
- Coronation or roast chicken on rye
- Ham and wholegrain mustard on wholewheat
- Bleikers’ salmon smoked with blend tea on pumpernickel
- Miniature cake selection
- Lemon and carrot tart
- Engadine slice
- A teapot for one of blend tea.
You can find more sample menus on our website under the Hosting/sample menus on the top menu.
Popular Sandwiches for children
Children tend to have less complex tastes, and too much fibre can fill a tummy making dinner time a challenge. Try using a 50% white to 50% wholemeal for sandwiches or make them more interesting by being creative.
Examples of popular Sandwiches include;
- Cream Cheese (V)
- Egg Mayonnaise (V)
- Roast Chicken
Useful websites to get more menu items;
If you short of ideas and want to experiment for your Afternoon Tea Party, then try these websites for some useful suggestions;
Written by Harman Bajwa Mohal, R.Nutr.,
© 2020 The Caroline Walker Trust
Updated 12 December 2022