Hosting a dinner party is a wonderful way to bring loved ones together to share an evening of lively conversation and delicious culinary indulgence. The inspiration to bring friends and family together becomes even more irresistible as the holiday season approaches, so we’ve put together our collection of teas and teaware that you can use to host and entertain your guests before, during or after your meal. Learn more about each item below, or scroll to the bottom of the page to view the entire collection. Bon Appetit!
Dinner Party Teas
Perfect Six-Pack and Loose Tea Trio
Because you may not know the specific tea preferences of the guests you are hosting for a dinner party, it is nice to offer a good assortment to have your bases covered. Black teas tend to be the most popular, but a green tea may be a better complement to the meal you’ve made. Or, after dinner, guests often opt for an herbal infusion to avoid consuming caffeine late at night.
Alternatively, a popular option for a more ceremonial approach is to prepare a tea flight, featuring several types of tea. A great starting point for providing a comfortable selection for your guests is a Perfect Six-Pack or Loose Tea Trio, both of which include Smith Teamaker’s most popular blends.
Although you may not traditionally think of tea as a dessert-like treat, it is easy to transform any tea into a deliciously decadent latte by adding milk and simple syrup. Some of our favorite teas to use in this way are No. 47 Bungalow combined with caramel and No. 45 Peppermint Leaves combined with chocolate. The Darjeeling black teas in Bungalow pair wonderfully with milk and sugar, as the tannins offset sweetness to create balance. If you prefer something caffeine-free, making a chocolate mint latte offers an enjoyable option for guests of any age.
Dinner Party Teaware
No matter what tea you are making, you will always need one thing: hot water. For this we recommend a reliable tea kettle. Because different types of teas do best with varying temperatures of water, we like to use a kettle that allows you to heat water at whatever temperature you like. If you visit us in one of our Portland Tasting Rooms, you will see that we use a Breville Variable Temp Kettle to prepare every hot beverage.
Ideal for preparing larger servings of loose leaf tea, using a 30oz teapot like this one allows you to brew a pot to share with several guests. The built-in filter feature makes it easy to portion the tea in the center of the teapot. Add hot water around the filter and steep to enjoy. If you are new to brewing loose leaf tea, you can find our brew guide here.
Preparing loose leaf tea always creates the possibility of particles falling into your cup as you pour, but luckily any standard tea strainer will prevent that from happening. Not only is this an essential for serving tea at dinner parties, but it is also a great tool to have for everyday tea making. Once you steep your tea, hold the strainer over your mugs as you pour, then discard any leaves that are caught in the strainer after you finish.
After you brew your tea, naturally you will pour the tea into mugs to share with your guests. As regular tea drinkers, we tend to go for mugs that are double-walled, like these. The thick ceramic both retains the temperature of the tea and prevents your hands from getting burned on the outside of the mug. They are also large enough to steep an 8oz cup of tea if you prefer making individual cups with sachets.
Specialty Tea Preparation
If you are looking to stay engaged with your culinary experience even after your meal ends, performing a gaiwan service, also known as small pot brewing, can elevate your after-dinner tea time with an homage to traditional Chinese brewing methods, which includes multiple steeps of the same tea leaves. Especially popular with oolong teas, using a gaiwan set allows you to intimately note how tea leaves change in shape, color and flavor as they steep, giving your guests a great topic of conversation as you enjoy your tea.
Oolong Tea Set
Another way to enjoy small pot brewing, you can use an oolong set like this one to perform a gaiwan service, or to create a unique tea cocktail. Here’s our suggested recipe:
- Place 1 heaping teaspoon or 1 sachet of No. 47 Bungalow into the teapot and fill the pot two-thirds of the way full with water just off the boil.
- After allowing it to steep for three minutes, add 1 ounce of cognac or brandy and 1 ounce of Benedictine.
- Steep for two more minutes, then serve, garnishing each serving with a berry for a sweet and acidic finish.