Seattle might be known for its coffee, but the Puget Sound also has quite the tea scene with a handful of adorable UK-themed tea rooms offering full afternoon tea service. However, amid the pandemic, these small shops have had to get creative or shutter. And Christy Graham of Graham's RoyalTea is determined to pivot by packing up three tiers of bite-sized goodies into a handy "take away" for mobile, pandemic-friendly afternoon tea.
When there's not a global crisis, the whimsical party venue in downtown Bothell is known for hosting private tea parties, showers and other celebrations, but given health and safety restrictions, the event company had to reimagine milestone events with mini pandemic elopements and even Zoom wedding receptions. Online or not, Graham knows how to plan a party and now she's helping people bring the party home with Tea Party To-Go boxes.
These kits are outfitted with everything you need for a traditional full afternoon tea with tasty treats made by Hillary Carstens of Bothell Baking Company. At just $21.99, the box comes with cucumber sandwiches and two other finger sandwiches (vegetarian options are available), two scones, three sweets, fresh fruit, Devonshire cream, jam and, of course, tea. Each order gets a choice of two teas from a robust list of loose leaf and sachet varieties. And the tea menu features every type of tea, from traditional black tea such as Earl Grey to non-caffeinated offerings such as herbal Blood Orange. If you ask Graham for her favorite, she'll tell you to go with the tea blend Paris. It's like an Earl Grey but with a sweeter, caramel-y twist.
The tea is packaged so that you can steep at home. However, if you want to brave a picnic in the cold, cups of hot water can be provided. And don't forget to request cream and sugar with your order. A minimum of two boxes are required and boxes must be ordered at least one day in advance by calling 425-686-7670. With Valentine's Day coming up, this is a great way to celebrate for adults and kids alike as Graham also offers a Kid's Tea Party To-Go box for $17.99. And from February 6-21, all boxes will be Valentine's themed with heart-shaped treats and sweet surprises.
If you're an afternoon tea newbie, here's the order in which you should set up, and eat, your tiered treats: finger sandwiches and savory items are on the bottom, scones are in the middle and sweet desserts are on top. If you don't have the accessories and accoutrements, Graham has tea sets for sale for every budget, from authentic bone china to disposable tiered stands. She even has several gorgeous, handmade tea tiers for sale that she fashioned out of antique china and vintage colored glass.
In an age where most of us are looking at the same four walls everyday, these boxes are a great excuse to dress up and treat yourself to something fun. Don a fancy hat or a dapper bow tie. Or just pair a fascinator with your favorite sweatpants and comfy socks! No judgement here. That's the beauty of at-home afternoon tea.