Tea Party Favors: Tea Strainers (Steeped in Love)

Tomorrow when our family gathers for my cousin’s bridal shower, I hope they will love these favors I put together, of course featuring tea, this time from local tea shop ZenTea in Chamblee, GA. Whether you are hosting a tea party, a shower or another fête, these will be a hit with tea lovers and foodies alike (who can repurpose the tea strainer as an infuser for soups, stews or sauces).

Finished tea infuser party favors

I like party favors that are part consumable, part useful, part keepsake, and environmentally conscious. Well, yes, I realize that’s a tall order, but these did a fair job of filling it. These favors treat your guests to delicious teas and afterwards may provoke memories of your occasion, whenever the strainer is put to use.

MATERIALS (per favor)
– 1 tea strainer, try any grocery store with a varied kitchenware section
– 4 tea sachets, or 1-2 ounces of loose leaf tea
– 1 zip-loc bag
– 1 printed tag, on plain printer paper
– 1 card stock square
– 1 6″ ribbon
– 2 tulle circles
– scissors
– permanent marker
– pen
– hole puncher

STEP ONE:  Prep Your Tags
Choose colors that echo your theme. In this case I used the color palate of the bridesmaids’ dresses, with metallic green card stock as a backdrop. After printing the tags on regular printer paper and cutting them out, cut the card stock a bit larger than your paper tag, line the two papers up such that the card stock forms a border for your tag, then hole punch the two papers in one punch.

Tags for Steeped in our Love tea party favors

Cut diagonal tips on 6-inch lengths of ribbon that are narrow and pliable enough to be pushed through the split keyring near the strainer’s latch. Anything from a quarter-inch to half-inch ribbon should work.
Preparing tag for Steeped in Love tea infuser favors

STEP TWO:  Portion Your Teas
I chose to use teas in sachets to provide for guests who may be unfamiliar with loose leaf tea brewing techniques, but certainly loose leaf teas accompanied with a simple how-to brewing guide would also be perfectly paired with these strainers. To properly store the tea, it is important to seal it in an air-tight container. I used zip-loc bags, which are admittedly unattractive. We’ll address that in the final step.

ZenTea pyramid tea bags

Each favor had four pyramid tea bags, all of the same tea, because mixing flavors, unless individually wrapped, would likely blend and ruin the flavor of each. I marked each zip-loc bag with the tea type and brew time. In honor of my cousin the international traveler, I chose teas that called to mind a variety of countries, including Green Moroccan Mint, Green Cherry, Pu-erh Scottish Caramel and Herbal Piña Colada. Whichever teas you select, I suggest including a caffeine-free option. For bridal and wedding events, I highly recommend Harney & Sons Wedding Tea, which is too delicious.

Tea bags packaged and labeled for infuser party favors

STEP THREE:  Assemble Your Favors
To conceal the zip-loc bag, tightly wrap it around itself and pinch two tulle circles around it, before settling it into the tea strainer. Allow some tulle to poke out of the top, fanned a bit, but not uniformly, as you latch the strainer closed.

Stuffing tea infusers with tulle-wrapped tea bags

Infusers packed with tea bags

Now to finish, write the type of tea on the back of the card stock tag, loop your ribbon through both pieces of paper, then push through the tea strainer ring, and knot. One caution as you are working with the strainers – they are delicate! It is easy to lean on them and press them out of shape while you are affixing the tags.

Tying on labels to infusers

This project, for a quantity of 15, took me about four hours, from start (designing the tags) to finish, and cost about $5 each. Ask a friend to help you assemble over a pot of tea, and the time will pass quickly and enjoyably. Et voilà! I would love to hear from anyone who uses this idea or improves upon it.

Also, if you have a favorite tea-themed favor, please share in your comments or email me at angela@destinationtea.com.

 

Destination Tea: The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead

UPDATE:  In 2017, The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead was closed. The Whitley hotel opened in its place.

Where:  Buckhead, GA
Style:  Elegant Traditional
Tea Selection:  12+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Friday-Sunday, 2 or 3
Reservations:  24-hour notice
Contact:  404-237-2700
Cost:  $60 The Ritz Tea; $44 Buckhead Classic Afternoon Tea; $21 Children’s Tea – sample menu here
Destination Tea Tips:  Dress is business casual, remember to bring cash for a tip if you plan to valet your car, and ask your server to validate your valet ticket. Upon entering, turn left to enter the Lobby Lounge, where tea is served. Ritz-Carlton Exterior

Destination Tea Notes:  Afternoon tea at the Ritz is an institution. Not surprising, given the Ritz is one of the original hoteliers to offer an afternoon tea service, both in the United States and abroad. In part, you are treating yourself to the Ritz’ luxurious ambiance, with a pianist playing softly as you relax into smooth leather armchairs or couches around the fireplace. Because we were a party of four, including two children, you’ll see the children’s menu items in the bottom tier. Our eleven-year-olds really enjoyed being included in this adult world, in which they dressed up, practiced their manners and happily munched and sipped everything they were offered. After making our way through the wide array of homemade savories, scones and sweets, we all agreed that the dessert course impressed us most with its deliciousness.

Ritz-Carlton Lobby
Upon entering, turn left to reach the Lobby Lounge for tea
Warm, rich tones invite you to tea
Warm, rich tones invite you to tea

Tea Service

Ritz Carlton Tea Service
Elegant china service
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We were invited to choose two teas to share over the first course, then a third with dessert. Rather than leave a teapot on the table, your server makes sure to refill your cup as needed.

Scones and Spreads, Savories and Sweets

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The scone here is less like a biscuit and more like a pancake in its consistency and flavor, served with jars of the traditional strawberry preserves, clotted cream and lemon curd.
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Sandwiches included cucumber with dill and lemon ricotta cream, Georgia shrimp profiterole with tarragon and basil, smoked salmon with caviar on pumpernickel, open face turkey canapé with orange marmalade, prosciutto and melon canapé with mint (a favorite) and traditional egg salad with truffle. The children had some of our items on their tier with an added ham and cheese sandwich.
Adults' treats included opera cake with passion fruit and edible silver, double chocolate cupcakes, key lime profiteroles, orange macarons, pistachio biscotti and the standout: mint chocolate torte. The children's tier included thumbprint cookies with gumdrops, double chocolate cupcakes, brownies, sugar cookies with lemon frosting and rice krispies.
Adults’ treats included opera cake with passion fruit and edible silver, double chocolate cupcakes, key lime profiteroles, orange macarons, pistachio biscotti and the standout: mint chocolate tortes. The children’s tier included thumbprint cookies with gumdrops, double chocolate cupcakes, brownies, sugar cookies with lemon frosting and rice krispies squares.

 

 

Destination Tea: Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Where:  Candler Park, GA
Style:  Eclectic Book Nook
Tea Selection:  75+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Tuesday-Friday 3-5:30; Saturday-Sunday 12-5:30
Reservations:  24-hour notice for high tea only
Contact:  www.drbombays.com/reservations; for parties of 8 or more – events@drbombays.com; 404-474-1402
Cost:  $20 The Caroline Tea$17.50 High Tea$15 The Ivan Tea; $10 Cream Tea – menus here
Destination Tea Tips:  Dr. Bombay’s is a great place to drop in for a spontaneous spot of tea because only their high tea requires advance reservation. You can pop in anytime and pick and choose your own tea and goodies for a DIY tea; or sample the Cream Tea or Ivan Tea (includes quiche) served all day; or from noon to 5:30, enjoy the Caroline Tea, which is an afternoon tea menu.Dr. Bombay's Exterior

Destination Tea Notes:  Dr. Bombay’s is a vibrant, cozy haven, reminiscent of a shop you might find in the wizarding world’s Diagon Alley. Ensconced amongst book-lined walls, paper lanterns and hanging origami, friends visit while others type away busily on laptops. The scene is lively without being loud. Not only do you feel part of the local community, you are part of a global community, simply by patronizing Dr. Bombay’s. Favorite words from their thank you card:  “Make Food. Serve Love…Thank you for being a part of this movement we call humanity.” As home to The Learning Tea, Dr. Bombay’s uses a portion of its proceeds to house and pay college tuition for female scholars in Darjeeling, India. YES! Oh, and their family recipe clotted cream is divine.

Mix-n-match china on a colorful tablecloth designate our high tea seating at one of Dr. Bombay's long communal tables.
Mix-n-match china on a colorful tablecloth designate our high tea seating at one of Dr. Bombay’s long communal tables.

Tea Service

Bright colors and Christmas china cup
Bright colors and Christmas china cup
Too many tempting and interesting teas! We finally settled on two of their exclusively blended "Vampyre Teas" - Jazilla (vanilla black with jasmine green tea "that could make you want to stomp around the city like a 16-story badass") and Sunrise Sinsation (white tea with lemon, ginger and ginseng). Smartly, we also later paired the perfectly refreshing and summery white cucumber mint with our dessert course.
Too many tempting and interesting teas! We finally settled on two of Dr. Bombay’s exclusive “Vampyre Tea” blends:   Jazilla (vanilla black with jasmine green tea “that could make you want to stomp around the city like a 16-story badass”) and Sunrise Sinsation (white tea with lemon, ginger and ginseng). We were grateful to our waitress for recommending the perfectly refreshing and summery white cucumber mint, which we paired with our dessert course.
One pot of tea per two guests; additional pots are $4.25 each.
One pot of tea per two guests; additional pots are $4.25 each

Scones and Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Giant coconut hibiscus scones were dense without being dry. A generous pot of clotted cream made with a family recipe was the showstopper.
Giant coconut hibiscus scones were dense without being dry. A generous pot of clotted cream made with a family recipe was the showstopper.
Housemade savories included cucumber butter and pimiento cheese (with a delicious kick) sandwiches, as well as a flavorful leek radish goat cheese quiche.
Housemade savories includes sandwiches of cucumber butter and pimiento cheese (with a delicious kick), as well as a flavorful leek radish goat cheese quiche.
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Our favorite of the desserts was the carrot cupcakes, which were accompanied by chocolate chip cookies, brownie bites and a mini scoop of green tea ice cream.
Books for sale to support The Learning Tea
$1 books for sale support The Learning Tea
Order at the counter for sandwiches, vegetarian dishes, scones, cakes, ice cream, tea or coffee
Order at the counter for sandwiches, vegetarian dishes, scones, cakes, ice cream, tea or coffee. Purchase tea packs sourced directly from Dr. Bombay’s Darjeeling partner.


The Caroline Tea (no reservation required)

Walk-ins order the Caroline Tea at the counter, where you select your tea and quiche.
Walk-ins order the Caroline Tea at the counter, where you select your tea and quiche.
Each guest gets a large pot of their favorite tea.
Each guest gets a large pot of her favorite tea.
Seating choices range from booths to long library tables, from armchair reading nooks to leather sofa.
Seating choices range from booths to long library tables, from armchair reading nooks to leather sofa, under an array of paper umbrellas, lanterns and lampshades.

leather couch beneath framed artwork at Dr. Bombay's

Tea Service

Our tea table at Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party
You are called to the counter to retrieve your tea tray.

Scones and Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Afternoon Tea spread at Dr. Bombay's in Candler Park
Pimiento cheese and egg salad sandwiches are served on soft baguette. The quiches (choice of potato or spinach-tomato) were very good. Chocolate chip scones are gargantuan, with a perfect crumb and served with Dr. Bombay’s homemade clotted cream. Desserts were a fabulous lavender-lemon cookie and brownie.
Loose leaf teas for sale at Dr. Bombay's in Candler Park
Loose leaf teas for sale