High Tea Noon

The idea of High Tea is exploding here in Australia. Seriously exploding.

You can’t move for High Teas.

In our line of work, or more exactly, with our line of teas, Lady Devotea* and I attend many High Teas. NOT for the little cakes and pastries, or the scones, or the antique cups, or the chance to wear spats**.

Or even for the tea. After all, we have great tea at home, and at many of the High Teas we go to, it’s actually our tea.

No, we go because we have to. It’s business, and it’s the business we’re in. We often do several a week, particularly to check out potential retailers. Before someone resells our tea, we like to eat and drink there. Get a feel for the place.

So, it’s a good thing we actually love the little cakes and pastries, the scones,  the antique cups, and the chance to wear spats***.  And the tea.

After all, we are in the High Tea business. When you have a range of teas that include “The Duchess” and “Lord Petersham”, and a tea that goes as amazingly well with High Tea as Lady Devotea****, then you are in the High tea business.

So, we get invited to a few High Teas, and we get asked to appear at a few to support tea rooms that are stocking our teas. We’ve done tastings at some. We’ve ‘tea sommeliered” at some.

And lately, we keep getting requests to support charity events. Quite a few of them.

It’s quite flattering, really. It means we are being noticed. It means we are the tea on everyone’s lips.

“Can you donate some tea for the event?”  “Can you provide a lovely raffle prize of tea?” “Can you attend and hopefully bring a table of paying guests with you?” “Can you make up a squillion little samples and give one to each participant?” “Can you donate your time to talk about tea?” 

Inevitably, the argument is “It’s good for business”.  And of course, it probably isn’t. For the same amount of money we could harangue an awful lot of people via Google Adwords.

We support charity High Teas because we are charitable people who like little cakes etc.

And most of the charities are very worthy. So, how do we decide what to support and what not to?

So, we’ve implemented a few rules. There’s a breakable set and a cast iron set.

Here’s the breakable set:

  1. It has to make good business sense.
  2. It has got to be one person who is out to make a difference, not a charity behemoth for whom this is a drop in the ocean.
  3. No more than one event per month.

And here’s the unbreakable cast-iron, set-in-stone set

  1. The food must be excellent
  2. The tea must be beyond reproach

Even if it’s not our tea being served, we will support the serving of good quality tea at such events. Conversely, if your charity high tea involves an urn and anything resembling a tea bag, then we are honour-bound to refuse you, and possibly send you a letter bomb.

Even, and let’s make this perfectly clear, if you are willing to provide me with the spats*****.

* Lady Devotea the person, not 'Lady Devotea' the tea.
** Not that I ever wear spats, but it's nice to get the chance.
*** Still not going to.
**** 'Lady Devotea' the tea, not Lady Devotea the person.
***** Which I still wouldn't actually wear.

Robert Godden

Certified Tea Nutter. Blender. Author of "The Infusiast" and Tea "Stories"

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5 thoughts on “High Tea Noon

  1. You are getting too High for us.
    Next time, you should blend a Paddy tea or some more commoner one.

    And for the spats, sorry but I don’t have any to share with you.

  2. I agree entirely the_devotea. I’m often asked to speak for chari-tea High Tea events. If it’s for chari-tea and if they’re serving good loose leaf tea, (my tea would be a bonus!), then it has to be a good thing, right?

    Running a business is a tricky business however where business owners have to weigh the pros and cons of doing something ex-gratia – it does get your name out there but one has to ask, are you targeting the right people?

    When I moved to Australia, my marketing plan was to get my name out there and did a few free tea gigs at the start, but I always did it in return for a tes-tea-monial or with the permission to sell my teas on the day, hand out business cards or to take down email addresses. That’s the least that a tea company could ask from customers if they’re wanting something for free.

    You are absolutely right – High Tea should be about the tea and the food. The clue is in the title right? I wrote about this very thing myself a couple of months ago: http://maykingtea.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/afternoon-tea-no-nos/

    Thanks for sharing the_devotea – some choice words and great nuggets of advice.

  3. Well, at least you have the choice of high tea events to attend, or not attend. We can’t attend any here, because there simply aren’t any. There isn’t even a small high tea spark to speak of.
    Just reading about those little cakes and scones made me close my eyes and dream a little little.
    As to contributing to charitable events, if you want to support the charity, and your name gets out at the same time, that’s not so bad is it? Plus there’s the cake for sugar’s sakes! If you paid for google adwords, you wouldn’t be supporting a charity at the same time – and there’d certainly be no scones.
    Anyway, I suppose there’s a limit on how many charities you can support.
    By the way, I had to look up the word “spats” – I think of it more as a petty quarrel.

  4. Jackie, extensive research* has shown that High Tea is virtually unavoidable in the USA. It’s everywhere.
    *Extensive research involved watching every episode of Revenge.

  5. Good day, I most enjoy drinking tea that i ordered from China on eBay: Their teas is really delicious and taste wonderful:-) but take a relatively long time for int’l dispatch … Where can i get SOOOO fresh tea in the USA? Of course, I’m a stinking spammer, but If I were a real genuine person, I’d be buying all my tea in the US from us.the-devotea.com

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