Tea is a peculiar word.  It can refer to the dried leaves of a plant, often shredded, that can be used to make a drink by adding water.  It can refer to the drink that is made from such leaves.  It can also refer to an afternoon or evening meal, depending on the culture.  Or, it can refer to an event, a social gathering, or some sort of charity fundraiser.  It’s the latter definition that applies here.

I’m a volunteer at the local humane society.  They host several events throughout the year, most of which are small, usually featuring silent auction items, a raffle, and a guest speaker.  Some sort of food is also served.  In the past, many of these events have been dinners, but the event in August was a tea.  While I usually don’t go to the events, I decided to go to this one and report back on the animal shelter’s take on what a tea entails.

There were six seats to a table with nice settings, which I suppose was to be expected, as the required dress was formal.  Most of the guests were adults, though there was the occasional tag-along toddler, whose parents probably didn’t want to bother with finding a babysitter.  If I recall correctly, there were also a few other teenagers who seemed to be in it just for the food.

Shortly after we were seated, a server came around to fill our teacups with hot water.  There were a variety of tea bags in the center of the table to choose from, but I will admit, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t the traditional sort of teapot setup.  The tea, however, was good.  There were six tea options listed on the card on the table.  A code on a piece of paper at the end of the string attached to each tea bag indicated what type of tea each contained.  For example, Scottish Breakfast was SB.  The other types I remember were some sort of jasmine tea and a variety of mint.  The other three were decidedly more interesting, but I can’t seem to remember their names.

Along with the tea, everyone was served a little plate of assorted pastries and finger sandwiches.   It was interesting being at a tea where the focus was not so much on the party elements, but rather on the presenter and the auction items.  While everyone else was distracted by the three-legged dog jumping off a table, I can safely say that my focus was on the tea part of the benefit.