Hosting an afternoon tea party is easy! All you need are some tea and treats!

How To Serve Afternoon Tea

What is afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea, or low tea, is a small meal of tea sandwiches, scones, pastries, cakes, and other delectable treats piled up on plates and served with tea between lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea may be enjoyed as an informal social gathering at the coffee table. It may also be a more formal affair at the dining table, either at home, or at a restaurant offering afternoon tea service.

Afternoon tea originated in 1840’s Britain as a private social event. Traditionally served at 4pm, this small meal was intended to fill the long gap between lunch and dinner, which could be served as late as 8pm. Like tea itself, afternoon tea has gained popularity over the years, and has become an anticipated experience in hotels, tea rooms, and spas throughout the world.

How to serve afternoon tea

Afternoon tea may be served in the afternoon (go figure), between lunch and dinnertime. All you need is some tea, food, and friends.

What tea to serve

As for tea, the sky is the limit. Tea should pair well with food. The safe play is a good strong pot of black tea, like a breakfast tea, or a single estate black tea. When serving guests with limited tea exposure, this is often what they imagine when they think ‘tea.’

To spruce up the experience, try serving a seasonal blend. This can go well with a seasonal themed afternoon tea service.

For a caffeine-free experience, try a robust rooibos blend, or explore herbal tisanes. Herbal tisanes have a good potential for interesting food pairings.

Green teas and certain oolongs may be paired with lighter flavor foods. An amber oolong, such as Wu Yi has a more robust and toasty flavor that goes well savory foods, and compliments sweets very well. Pu-erh blends are very rich with a distinct earthy flavor, and may be better suited for heavier meals.

On a sweltering day, flip the script; try a tall glass of iced tea. It’s afternoon, it’s tea, why not?

Afternoon tea food

Fresh scones with preserves and cream or butter, tea cakes, tea sandwiches, tarts, biscuits, and french pastries piled up on plates. And plates piled up on tiered trays. Small dainties in abundance for your guests to pluck to their heart’s content. That is the afternoon tea experience.

The recipe ideas are endless. Some are very simple. If it’s small and beautiful, and pairs well with tea, put it on a plate!

Check out The Spruce for afternoon tea recipe ideas.

Afternoon tea tableware

The standard tea service tableware will do. You’ll need a large teapot and infuser, tea cups and saucers. If serving with milk and sugar, you’ll need a cream pitcher and sugar bowl.

Aside from small plates for serving and silverware, you may need ramekins for individual portions of preserves and cream if you are serving scones or other pastries that require spreads. While afternoon tea is typically served on tiered trays, they are not essential.

How To Serve Tea To Children

Tea Time with Children

How To Serve Tea To Children


Did you know that you could have a real tea party with your little ones? Children as young as a year old can appreciate a good cuppa—with treats of course! A tea party is an enjoyable bonding experience to have with your children, and provides a great opportunity for children to learn lots of skills, like handling a warm beverage and table manners. You’ll be surprised how quickly your child will pick it up!

The key is selecting the proper tea. Any tea with caffeine is not recommended. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can affect a child’s sleep patterns, increase anxiety, and generally drive them up a wall. Fortunately, there are many teas that don’t have caffeine.

Technically speaking, tea is from the camellia sinensis plant, which is naturally caffeinated. What we recommend is something called an herbal tisane, or an herbal tea. There are many kid-safe herbal teas.

Recommended Teas

A quick note, we recommend serving tea without sugar. If your child has never had sugar with their tea, they won’t expect it, and they will be happy enough just playing grown up. Milk is optional, and not a necessity. Rooibos teas may benefit from a splash of milk. Certain fruit tisanes may actually curdle milk due to the acidic content, so please test first.

We also recommend certified organic blends. Due to the nature of tea production, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers can become concentrated in teas. When your tea is certified organic, it ensures that it is free from these chemical contaminates.

How To Serve Tea

When serving, we recommend a few important tips. First, this is a supervised activity. After all, you are brewing piping hot tea! Your child should not have access to extremely hot tea at any time! That means your teapot should be well out of reach unless it has cooled down sufficiently.

In the beginning, your child will need a lot of help, there are so many skills to master. If possible, have your child stay at the table. This means an age appropriate table and possibly chair. Help your child with proper handling of their tea mug. Expect spills, be ready with a hand towel and plenty of patience. And yes, that means spilt tea on clothing! Be patient and calm, it’s all about building a positive experience.

It’s also a great time to put the phone away and turn off the TV. Let your tea time be a distraction-free time. Keep your electronics in a separate room with the sound off if temptation is too great.

Tea Ware

We recommend not breaking out the fine china for this activity. Especially for toddlers, because, well, they’re toddlers. We have found that Japanese style ceramic tea tumblers work very well, and are just durable enough for the purpose. Small tumblers allow for easy handling, and the small vessel allows tea to cool faster. The ones without handles reduce complications.

Older children may be able to handle more traditional tea cups (again, not the fine china), however, children should always be supervised and instructed, especially in the beginning.

Tea should be served warm, not hot of course. Always test tea before serving. To cool down tea quickly, try keeping an empty teapot or any non-plastic vessel with a spout at hand. Instead of serving brewed tea directly in your child’s cup, pour a serving size in the empty teapot and swirl. The vessel will absorb the heat of the serving. Then transfer to your child’s mug and test to make sure it is a good temperature.

If you have a play tea set, please check with the manufacturer to ensure it is food safe and also durable enough for actual use. Play tea sets are not always intended for actual use.


Feel free to serve snacks with tea. This could be a simple as cut up fruit, or a special treat, such as a scone with cream and preserves, a cookie, and other hand-sized dainties. For a traditional afternoon tea experience add tea sandwiches.

Just in case you are wondering, you can make any sandwich a tea sandwich really, just remove the crust and cut it into triangles, as long as it holds well together, you have yourself a tea sandwich! Optionally, you can use a sandwich cutter for all sorts of fun shapes, or experiment with a cookie cutter.

Shot & A Spot: Irish Breakfast with Irish Whiskey

Enjoy a little caffeine kick with your Irish whiskey, to leave you feeling all warm and charged. All you need is a shot of Irish whiskey and a spot of tea! A great drink at last call.


  • One Pot Irish Breakfast (Any breakfast tea will do in a pinch)
  • One shot Irish whiskey
  • Whipped Cream (Optional)


Make a pot of Irish Breakfast (click here for brewing instructions). Add a shot of Irish whiskey. Serve. Optionally, add a dollop of whipped cream to your serving. Enjoy!

Find a substitute to your favorite Teavana Tea

Finding a substitute for your favorite Teavana Tea

Find a substitute to your favorite Teavana Tea

With Teavana shuttering all of its stores, including it’s location at Crossgates Mall in Albany, many tea drinkers are looking for a local alternative Albany NY tea store. Fortunately, there is a nearby location that serves as an ideal Teavana alternative tea shop.

“I’ve done a lot of research on their teas,” Linda Smith, owner of Divinitea, remarked. “We’ve been able to find a good replacement for Teavana customer’s favorite teas, whether it’s something we already blend, or it’s something we make just for them. It’s a personalized service.

“We’ve had a lot of customers come over from Teavana; our Clifton Park location is just 15 minutes away from the closed Teavana shop at Crossgates Mall. They will come in with a tea or describe it to us, and we’ve been able to help them out.”

When asked how closely she was able to come to a substitute: “While Teavana had many varieties, we have over 300 blends in house. We’ve come up with similar or even better tea blends customers enjoy.

“However, we don’t copy Teavana teas. We can’t, nor would we want to.” Linda added. “First of all, Teavana teas are not certified organic, meaning their ingredients can be treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers. We source only certified organic ingredients, to ensure they are safe and healthy.”

“Certain ingredients are very expensive to source organically. We don’t recommend including these ingredients in a Teavana substitute tea if they don’t affect flavor. A lot of the blends are overly complicated anyway, with something like 14 ingredients. Some of these ingredients are in there just for the names, to make the tea sound exotic. They are there in such small quantities that you can’t taste it and you aren’t really getting the health benefits.

“When we add an ingredient, it is there for a reason. It’s there for a flavor profile or a health benefit. There are no added sugars or sweeteners in our blends. I’ve actually eaten pieces of fruit out of Teavana tea. They’re sugared fruits,” Linda observed as she sifted through a Teavana blend, picking out fruit pieces.

“Another important note,” Linda continued, “we are a nut-free facility. None of our blends contain any nut products, so we’re safe for people with nut allergies. ”

When asked what customers should do if they want to replace their Teavana teas. Linda replied: “If you’re local, you can stop by our Clifton Park tea shop. It helps if you can bring the tea you want to replace, especially if you have a list of ingredients. But even if you don’t have that, we can make a recommendation.

“The best time to stop in is on Saturdays from 9:30-12. We have a free tea tasting. You can try any tea we have. It’s a great opportunity to discover something new.”

“If you’re not local, or can’t make the trip, you can always call or email us. We can help you find what you’re looking for. Our website,, has a wide selection of our teas, and we offer free shipping, so you can have your tea delivered to your door at no extra charge.”


Need A Teavana Tea Alternative? We’re On The Case!

Feel free to shop on our website for a replacement for your Teavana tea. If you would like help, call us at 518.347.0689 to consult a tea blending specialist.

George Washington - Tea Drinker

The President’s Favorite Cup of Tea

Did you know that some of the founding fathers of the United States were tea drinkers? For example, George Washington possessed many tea wares in his Mt. Vernon home, including tea caddies, tea boards, tea chests, teacups, pewter tea ware, teapots, tea sets, silver teaspoons, tea tables and a silver-plated tea urn.

According to records from his estate, Washington purchased a variety of Chinese teas, both black and green. The rich malty breakfast teas from India and Sri Lanka were not cultivated until the 19th century, and so Chinese teas were the teas of the time.

In fact, during the infamous Boston Tea Party, it wasn’t English Breakfast that went overboard. The inventory amounted to three tea ships contained 240 chests of Bohea, 15 of Congou, 10 of Souchong (all black teas), 60 of Singlo, and 15 of Hyson (both green teas).

Thomas Jefferson, another founding father and early American president, had a passion for food and drink, including Chinese teas. In a letter to a Philadelphia tea merchant and grocer in 1794, Jefferson noted “Having occasion for about 20. lb. of good tea annually…”

Looking to stock your Larder during this Presidents’ Day? We’re offering 10% off all unflavored black and green teas to celebrate an early American tradition of having a good cuppa.

Use the following coupon code at checkout to get 10% off unflavored green and black teas:


Want to read more about our founding fathers and tea? Here are some interesting reads from the Boston Tea Party Museum:

We hope you have an enjoyable President’s Day!


Organic Passion Fruit Tea

Beat The Winter Blues with Tea

It’s been a frigid winter so far in many parts of the country. Iguanas are falling from the trees in Florida, bomb cyclones are dropping snow on the east coast, and Mount Washington is making Mars looking like a balmy retreat.

Although winter takes on a different meaning for some. Our thoughts go out to  California in particular, where a record breaking fire season has resulted in destructive mudslides.

Whatever the weather, it’s a good time to take a break, take stock, and like a character out of a Hercule Poirot story, calm your nerves with a strong cuppa.

Beat The Blues

This weekend we’re running a website and in store promotion for 10% off the following teas. Plus earn rewards points when you shop online.

Use coupon code BEAT-THE-BLUES from now thru Monday (1/15) for the teas below:

  • Earl Grey’s Passion: An organic Earl Grey tea with a hint of passion fruit. Made with real organic orange and lemon peel. This tastes great hot or iced.
  • Persian Plum Rose: An exotic organic black tea blend with sultry notes of plum and rose petals, and a pleasant finish of cardamom spice.
  • Cranberry Raspberry: Addictive tart fruity notes of cranberry and raspberry with piquant flavors of hibiscus. Tasty hot or iced. Naturally caffeine free organic blend, full of antioxidants.
  • Organic Passion Fruit Tea: Rich, ripe flavors of passion fruit with an organic black tea base. Excellent hot or iced.
  • Ceylon Green: From the lush tropical tea estates of Sri Lanka, this organic Ceylon green tea has gentle floral notes and a brisk grassiness.


New Website?

Perhaps you have noticed our website has changed? We have undergone a major upgrade with a lot of new features. We will keep you posted in a separate newsletter.

Here are a few teasers in the meantime. First and most important, we have a new design for mobile devices, for a dramatic improvement in viewing on phones and tablets. We also rolled out a saved payment method feature that allows you to remember a credit card. The information is securely stored on our payment processor’s protected servers. We are also working on improvements to our tea of the month club and gift card program, with news upcoming on both fronts.

In the meantime, feel free to contact us with questions!

Have a great weekend!


Divinitea Website Updated

Divinitea has just completed a major website upgrade. As part of the update, we have changed the layout of our website. If you have any questions about the new website, feel free to contact us.

Do you have a customer account with us? If you have trouble logging in, you may have to reset your password. If you have any further difficulties, please reach out to us.

A special note to tea club subscribers and gift card purchasers:

Our system has received a big upgrade, so how you manage your tea club subscription and gift cards has changed. We will keep you posted about the new updates shortly.

Thank you!

Divinitea is Moving!

Divinitea is moving to Clifton Park NY

Great news, we are moving our retail location and blending facility to Clifton Park, NY! Our new location will have more space to accommodate our growing demands.

Timeline of Services

Wholesale Customers: If you have a wholesale account with us, you can continue to order over the phone during our normal business hours at 518.347.0689. There will be no interruption of services.

Web Sales Our website will be online 24/7 and we will still process web orders normally.

In-Store Purchases: Saturday, April 22nd will be our last day of services in Schenectady, NY! So stock up then. Starting the week of April 24th, both our Schenectady location and our Clifton Park location will be closed while we move. We won’t have the ability to sell tea or teaware in either store. If you like to buy from us in-store, you can purchase online instead, or wait until our location is up and running in Clifton Park on May 6th.

New Location Address

1604 Route 9
Clifton Park, NY 12065

You can keep up to date on our website or check out our Facebook page.

Turmeric – The New Superfood?

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric is a spice commonly associated with Asian and Indian foods. It is traditionally used in curry, and is even used to lend a yellow color to mustards and cheeses. Recently, turmeric has gained attention for its myriad of purported health benefits due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric may be another example where science is catching up with ancient medicine. For thousands of years, turmeric was used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, for topical applications to treat wounds, and regulate menstruation.

Recent research is focusing on curcumin, a compound produced in the rhizome of the turmeric plant. Curcumin gives turmeric its bright yellow color. It also has many purported health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties. Studies have focused on turmeric’s potential use in treatment of arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers, heart disease, and even depression.

However, the science is not firmly established yet when it comes to turmeric. According to Barbara Delage, a scientist with the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center, “claiming that [turmeric] can be useful for humans is premature, given the current evidence.” Delage notes that few good human clinical trials have been completed. In addition, curcumin has poor bioavailability, meaning that very little of the plant compound is actually absorbed by the body.

So while the science catches up with folk medicine, try adding a little turmeric to your diet.


New Harvest: Organic Silver Tips White Tea

We just received a fresh harvest of Organic Silver Tips White Tea from the Makaibari Estate in India’s Darjeeling district. Check it out, it was a great season this year. View Tea…

View Tea