How to Host a Tea Cupping with Friends
Many people have heard of wine and beer tasting. These fun events involve going to a brewery or winery to learn about the process of creating the tasty beverages and then trying a variety of them in small quantities. Why not emulate this process with tea? You can learn more about the drink and enjoy a bunch of different kinds with friends at a tea cupping. Here's how:
Feature a Variety of Teas
The most important part of this fun event is the tea! With the Mr. Coffee® Hot Tea Maker and Kettle, you can use bagged or loose leaf teas. In the interest of getting the best quality drinks possible, opt for some loose leaf teas for the cupping. Grab a few kinds of white, oolong, green and black tea. Tisanes, or teas made of fruits and spices, are not technically tea because they don't use tea leaves, but they are tasty and can be found on many cafe menus. Many summery hibiscus teas are tisanes, for example.
"Different varieties of tea require varied temperatures."
Have Several Kettles on Hand
Just like with brewing wine and beer, different varieties of tea require varied temperatures. If you brew a tea that requires a lower temperature in a too-hot kettle, the tea won't taste as it should - it may end up bitter. Follow these temperatures for each type of tea:
- Black and herbal teas - full boil or 208 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit
- Oolong teas - between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit
- White and green teas - between 170 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit
The best way to have each of these three temperatures ready is to set your kettle to boiling and make black and herbal teas first. Then, use your extra kettle to brew the next batch at a lower setting for Oolong tea. Be sure you're paying attention to brewing time. It's easiest to set a timer for each kettle and leave it right next to the water. This way you can easily tell which teas are done without getting mixed up by setting timers on your phone or stove.
Create a Swift Setup
When hosting a family holiday, you might serve everyone dinner in a buffet style setup. This makes it easy for everyone to move from one end of the kitchen to the other while grabbing silverware, plates, food and beverages - greatly limiting the chaos! You can create a similar process by thinking about your tea area while you set it up. Place mugs or tea cups first, then tea kettles, tea bags (if you're using them), and finally the extras like sugar. This design should allow your guests to move smoothly from one tea course to the next.
Make fun labels for each tea including their names, brewing time and temperature and the tea origins. This way everyone is learning about each delicious drink and won't be constantly questioning you for all the answers! You could even create your own hashtag for everyone to share their tea cupping pictures like #smithteaparty or #teaforthree if you have three guests!
Some people host tea tastings because they love many varieties of the beverage and want to share their knowledge with friends. Others are stuck in a rut making the same tea day after day and would like to try something new. A great way to really turn a cupping into a useful and memorable event is to have everyone take notes. Provide each guest with paper to write down the tea varieties and what they thought about each. Decide on a group favorite with a vote at the end. Randomly select one anonymous vote and give that person a tea swag bag with a fun thermos, tea strainer and some fresh loose leaves to take home.