The Japanese Tea Ceremony: Tradition with Honor

Cha-No-Yu translated means, “Hot water for tea” it is a simple description of tea preparation, but the Japanese tea ceremony adds greater significance in the act of sharing a cup with guests.


The Japanese Tea Ceremony is steeped in tradition founded in the early 1500’s. The contemporary style known best today is accredited to Tea Master, Sen-No-Rikyu. His style contributed to five elemental behaviors that make the ceremonial experience a lesson in Japanese culture and honor.

According to Zen Stories of the Samurai, these five contributions include: “A tea house that can accommodate five people. A separate small room where utensils were washed, two entrances, one for the host one for the guest, a doorway low enough to make the guest bend down to enter, humbling themselves in preparation for the tea ceremony.”

Sen-No-Rikyu brought a dramatic quality to the ceremony that exemplified harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. He died the death of honor performing seppuku after the request to do so was brought forth from Japan’s militant dictator, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Traditional Ceremony

A Tea Ceremony takes approximately four hours and consists of three parts: a light formal meal, followed by the preparation of two different tea styles, a thin and thick tea.

It begins with the guests entering the Tearoom from the garden with the honored guest entering first. It is customary for the guests to admire the scroll and flower arrangement, both of which have seasonal aesthetics attributed to them. The hibachi (heating element) and kettle are …

Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz-Carlton

If you happen to be vacationing in or near a city that has a Ritz-Carlton hotel, an all-time favorite with the kids during the holidays is the Teddy Bear Tea. A great Mommy-and-Me event, girls and moms will love getting dolled up in their best dresses for this fancy, yet funny tea.

Holiday Entertainment at the Teddy Bear Tea

At the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, Binky the Elf will delight the kids with holiday storytelling and a karaoke-style sing-along that includes Christmas classics. The moms will get a kick out of Binky’s hilarious impersonations of Sonny and Cher, Carly Simon and Justin Bieber. Another hit with the kids is a real-life Teddy Bear that greets the children at their tables. Kids can get a photo with the bear in front of the Christmas tree for a holiday keepsake. For those who forgot to bring their favorite stuffed animal to have tea with, don’t fret. The Teddy Bear Tea includes a soft, brown teddy bear for the kids to take with them.

Teddy Bear Tea Menu at the Ritz-Carlton

The celebration begins with children being served a cup of cocoa with optional marshmallows, and the moms being offered a choice of three varieties of tea served in elegant teacups. For an additional fee, there is an open bar for the adults who care to indulge in a mimosa or seasonal cocktail. The children’s menu includes things like peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, and egg salad finger sandwiches. They also …

Teas to Serve at an Afternoon Tea or a High Tea Party

At an afternoon tea party or high tea, the teas you offer guests are as important as the food. Choose several tea varieties to complement your teatime menu.

When planning an afternoon tea or high tea party, many people concentrate their efforts on serving delicious food. But just as much thought needs to be put into the beverages that will be offered to guests. Providing a choice of teas to match the food will enhance the whole dining experience.

With the huge range of teas on the market these days, how do you know which ones will be best for afternoon tea? Choose teas that are refreshing, satisfying, but not so strong that they overpower the dainty servings of finger sandwiches and little cakes.

Black Teas for Afternoon Tea

These can be served with or without milk, depending on individual taste. Also offer lemon slices, and a choice of sugar or honey to sweeten.

  • Darjeeling is considered to be the 'tea of teas'. Grown at high altitude in India and picked by hand at dawn, this delicate yet aromatic tea is perfect for an afternoon tea or high tea party. One variety called 'Castleton First Flush' goes well with smoked salmon savouries as well as strawberry jam and cream on scones.
  • Assam teas are also grown in India. These are a top-quality teas, tasting a little stronger than Darjeeling. Sometimes cardamon is used as a flavouring in this refreshing tea.
  • Ceylon teas from Sri Lanka are considered some of the

A Singapore Treat: High Tea at Raffles Hotel

With its colonial atmosphere and luxurious ambience, Raffles Hotel hosts, each afternoon, a traditional English High Tea, with an Asian twist.

Raffles Hotel is one of Singapore's best known and most loved landmarks. For over a hundred years travellers have been coming through its doors to stay or dine in elegant and luxurious surroundings. Traditions started by English colonists have survived: partaking in a tiffin curry luncheon on Sundays, drinking the Singapore Sling cocktail, and taking high tea in the afternoons.

High Tea at Raffles

Every afternoon, between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., High Tea is served in the Tiffin Room at Raffles. This is an elegant, high-ceilinged room with chandeliers and ceiling fans.The tall arched windows look out to Palm Garden with its ornate cast-iron fountain.

A talented musician plays the harp as gentle background music while uniformed waiters move quietly between the tables, making sure all the guests have tea and coffee.

Copied from old photographs, the furniture in the Tiffin Room replicates that used in the early days of the hotel. The teak tables are square; the chairs bentwood with palm design backs.

White linen tablecloths and silver cutlery, fine bone china crockery and a silver vase of orchids grace each table.

Reservations for High Tea at Raffles are recommended. Guests are requested to wear smart clothing.

The Food at Raffles High Tea

On arrival at the Tiffin Room, we were escorted to our reserved table. A three-tiered silver cake stand, complete with a variety of traditional afternoon …

Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Republicans in the Election

According to The Hill (August 11, 2010), Republican Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia stated on a morning radio talk show that Sarah Palin’s endorsement efforts were hurting the party: “…what she is doing is dividing the party at a time we don’t need to be divided…” he said. Palin had supported Karen Handel in the gubernatorial primary runoff election over Nathan Deal, a long-term conservative Congressman who was supported by Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. Although Palin is not considered a leader of the Tea Party movement, she identifies with it closely.

Will Palin and the Tea Party Impact the November Election?

Although, according to a recent MSNBC report, Palin has endorsed more males than females, Karen Handel was defeated in a close runoff, despite being one of the “commonsense conservative” Mama Grizzlies. Palin uses her Facebook site to endorse candidates and remind voters to go to the polls. But notoriety does not always guarantee success, as the results in Georgia demonstrate.

John Nichols, writing in The Nation (July 21, 2010), comments that Palin has a “penchant for advancing the prospects of conservative women whose candidacies are changing the ‘good-old-boy’ face of the party, particularly in the South.” Nichols compares her strategy to Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980 in terms of “establishing a network of connections.” In 2012, winning the South will be crucial to anyone seeking the presidency.

But the divide-and-conquer endorsement strategy could backfire in November. In Nevada, for example, Sharron Angle won the GOP primary race. …