The $10 Collaborative Tea Party

teacups for afternoon tea party

by Sylvia Pace

Are you on a strict budget? Are you a senior citizen or pensioner? Do you love entertaining friends but lack the funds to do so? It is time you learned about the $10 tea party.  Remember the children’s story, “Stone Soup”?  In this classic, everyone contributes to the village pot that starts with a stone in it.  After a short time, a hearty soup develops.  The $10 tea party begins and ends the same way (minus the stone of course).

How to Throw A Tea Party for $10

Follow these steps to have a wonderful collaborative tea party for five friends.

  • Call up four of your friends and invite them over for your collaborative tea party. Tell them you’ll need them each to contribute one item and some tea so that it will be a success. 
  • Friend 1 brings: 1 loaf of bread, 2 individual bags of tea
  • Friend 2 brings: 1 block of cheese of any kind, 2 individual bags of tea
  • Friend 3 brings: 1 bag of cookies or tea biscuits, 2 individual bags of tea
  • Friend 4 brings: 1 bag of Hershey’s kisses any flavors, 2 individual bags of tea
This tea sampler from Revolution Teas can be found at World Market for $2.99

And now it is time to use your $10.00.  At the grocery store buy:

  • 1 small tea sampler ($2.99)
  • 1 small jalapeño ($1.00)
  • ¼ pound of turkey breast from the grocery store butcher ($3.00)
  • 1 large honeycrisp apple ($1.50)
  • 1 large orange ($1.50)

Setting Up Your Tea Party

If you have a three-tier tray, get it out now for the fun to begin.  If you do not have a three tier tray, you will need six hardbound books and three plates of varying sizes or all of the same size. To use the hardbound books, place one plate on top of one book, another plate on top of two books, and a third plate on top of three books.  This results in a deconstructed three tier tray with fun levels.

DIY cake stands with book stacks
Choose books on a theme to stack at varying heights for your DIY tiered stands.

Making the Tea Sandwiches Together

Once your friends arrive, have everyone work on one level of the tea tray while you boil a pot of water. 

One person slices up the cheese, turkey and the jalapeno.  Layer one slice of cheese and one slice of turkey between two slices of bread spread with mayonnaise or mustard, as you and your friends prefer.  Cut the finished sandwich in in fourths.  If you are a stickler, you can cut off the edges first, or just enjoy the sandwiches with crusts included. Place a piece of freshly sliced jalapeño inside every other sandwich.  This makes some of the sandwiches spicy and the others not spicy.  Continue making sandwiches until you have used half of the loaf. At this point, having quartered each sandwich, you should have a sizable mound of tea sandwiches.

Displaying the Three Afternoon Tea Courses

Place your tea sandwiches on the bottom level of your tea tray or on the first plate that is stacked on one book. 

For the second level of the tray or the plate on top of two books, stagger three cookies and six Hershey’s kisses all the way around the plate until it is full. 

Finally, on the top plate or the plate on top of three books, slice the apple and the orange and stage them intermittently around the plate. 

Choosing and Steeping Your Teas

Add your own two tea bags to the ones brought by your guests.  Put them all into a tea tin or decorative canister.  Have guests close their eyes and select one tea bag each, placing it in their chosen tea mug or teacup and saucer.  Pour steaming water on top, let steep according to kind of tea and enjoy all of your goodies! 

Sylvia Pace, Teography

Sylvia Pace

Sylvia, The Tea Provocateur, spent 15 years in Independent Schools as a learning difference specialist helping children who struggled academically achieve success in the classroom and in life. 

Her love of all things social led her to become a Certified Tea Sommelier through the International Tea Masters Association. She has presented at tea events in Georgia and is a well regarded tea humorist. She may be reached at

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

1 Comment

  1. What a great idea! The article was informative and provided clear steps to have an enjoyable tea party with friends and family.

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