How to Host: Garden Tea

The birds are singing and busily building their nests, gardens are blossoming and the afternoons grow warmer. This can mean only one thing: it’s time to plan a garden tea party! Inspiration abounds everywhere you look as the natural world comes to life for a new season of growth and fresh energy.

Announcing a first for our themed tea party guides! Our Garden Tea Party Guide has tea pairing recommendations made by a Certified Tea Specialist and Tea Sommelier from loose leaf tea purveyor Driftwood Tea Company, which is created by and served at The White Heron Tea Room in historic New Port Richey, Florida. After we assembled a scrumptious collection of seasonal afternoon tea recipes for a garden tea party, Driftwood Tea Company selected teas from their catalogue that would complement our menu. We hope this helps you create a palate-pleasing experience for your guests, and leads you to discover a new tea you love!

Garden Tea Table by Destination Tea

Notes on Using Destination Tea to Plan Your Tea Party

Destination Tea's Tea Party Planner with shopping list for afternoon tea
Destination Tea's Tea Party Planner with shopping list for afternoon tea

Here’s how we suggest using our resources:

  1. Print out a front-and-back copy of Destination Tea’s Tea Party Planner.
  2. As you browse The Scene, Tea Selection, Tea Sandwiches, Scones and Sweets ideas in our Garden Tea Pinterest board, choose which items you’ll have at your tea party, and fill in the related sections of your Tea Party Planner, adding needed items and ingredients to your Shopping List.
  3. Bookmark, pin or print any recipes you like from the Garden Tea Pinterest board, and have fun making your preparations!

Setting the Scene? That’s Everything!

In The Scene board, you’ll find suggestions for creative touches that will make your garden teatime special, which you can add to “The Scene” section of your Tea Party Planner, including:

  • Tablescape:
    • Floral table runner (video tutorial)
    • Teapot centerpiece
    • Recycled glass jars cum vases
    • Lace tablecloth
  • Teaware:
    • Floral patterned fine bone china teaset recommendations
    • Vintage glass sugar bowl, creamer, condiment dish
    • Light green cake pedestals
    • 3-Tiered Trays with botanical and rustic designs
  • Favors:
    • DIY vintage brooch place cards
  • Activities:
    • Wooden croquet set
  • Fashion:
    • Lace gloves
    • Parasols
    • Tea hats and fascinators

The Menu: Garden Tea

We pulled together a menu that highlights what’s growing in the spring garden, featuring cool season crops and refreshing teas from Driftwood Tea Company. We also include a list of edible flowers you might use as garnishes.

Selecting Your Teas [Tea Pairings by Driftwood Tea Company]

If the afternoon is going to be particularly warm for your al fresco tea, you may want to serve some of these teas iced. You can either brew as normal and refrigerate overnight, or double the amount of tea leaves indicated, and add ice before serving. As a bonus, Driftwood Tea Company teaches us more about tea pairings by providing detailed descriptions to explain their tea recommendations. For a more precise pairing suggestion, the course sections also include tea pairings by menu item.

  • Downtown Afternoon Black Tea – This non-astringent medium/full body tea is mild enough to enjoy with sweet flavors but bold enough to enjoy with strong flavors and spices. A great all-around tea to accompany any meal.
  • Strawberry Dream White Tea – The lightness of white tea, combined with slightly sweet strawberry make this a wonderful tea to pair with like-flavored dishes, as well as refreshing flavors like cucumbers. It also holds up well with floral and fruit flavors.
  • Pan-Fired Darjeeling – This slightly dark and peppery tea pairs great with dishes containing seafood and eggs. Likewise, because it tends to taste more savory than sweet, it goes great with bold and spice flavors.
  • Garden Party Green Tea – Garden Party combines green and black teas with floral notes, making it a nice pairing with both light and medium-bodied foods. It goes especially well with foods that also include floral elements.
  • Lady Londonderry – Lady Londonderry is a very versatile tea that goes with so many different flavors. The medium body of the black tea and hints of strawberry and lemon make this tea a wonderful edition to many different dishes. 
  • Florida Sunset Rooibos – This herbal’s slight citrus combines with notes of cinnamon and spices to create a lightly spiced brew that brings a food’s spice flavors to the forefront when enjoyed together.
  • Lavender Vanilla White Tea – This light tea combines floral notes of lavender with creaminess of vanilla, making it a perfect tea to enjoy with almost any sweet.

To demystify the brewing process for loose leaf teas, see our video below.

Tea Sandwiches

Yum! These tea sandwiches use oodles of fresh herbs to brighten your tea tray and your taste buds with flavorful greenery.

  • Deviled Egg Salad with Chive Ties (tea: Pan Fired Darjeeling)
  • Cucumber Mint (tea: Egyptian Chamomile)
  • Arugula and/or Smoked Salmon with Homemade Boursin (tea: Japan Sencha)
  • Chicken Tarragon Salad (tea: English Breakfast)
  • Radish on Pumpernickel (tea: Kukicha Japanese Stem)
  • Strawberry Basil and Cream (tea: Strawberry Dream White)
  • Prosciutto and Asparagus (tea: Downtown Afternoon Black)
  • Vidalia Onion and Parsley (tea: Ontario Ice Wine White)

Scones & Spreads

We’ve included savory and sweet scone suggestions, as well as a method for making your own lemon curd for this course.

  • Cherry-Rose Scones (tea: Almond Rocker Rooibos)
  • Fruit Scones, served at British Royal Garden Parties (tea: Royal Empress Oolong)
  • Garlic Cheddar Chive Scones (tea: Lover’s Leap Black Tea)
  • Emily G’s Triple Berry Jam
  • St. Dalfour Strawberry Spread
  • Homemade Lemon Curd

Sweets

What’s for dessert? Our chosen recipes here have been influenced by our British expat hostesses over the years.

  • Rose Meringues (tea: Day Dreamer Black Tea)
  • Mini Layered Carrot Cakes (tea: Steamed Darjeeling)
  • Pink Rhubarb Shortcakes (tea: Strawberry Rhubarb Herbal)
  • Lavender Cake (tea: Lavender Vanilla White)
  • Jasmine Madeleines (tea: Garden Party Green)
  • Mini Fruit Tarts with Shortbread Crust (tea: South Sea Symphony)

Let’s Get Started Planning Your Garden Tea

If you recommend a refreshing treat, tea or fun garden party game, please let us know in the comments, thank you! Click on the pinboard below to delve into our suggestions for your garden afternoon tea and happy party planning!

DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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