Can you think of anything more fun than getting a group of tea lovers together to share a good cuppa? How about many good cuppas at several different locations? Yes, we’re talking about a tea room crawl!
In the late 1800s, the term pub crawl was coined to described a bunch of “gentlemen” who’d start their ale-drinking in one pub, then amble en masse to another pub, and then another, to continue their imbibing. The goal was to sample the best each pub had to offer, in both ale and ambiance, until they reached a state of inebriated nirvana (or until they passed out).
For this crawl you’ll be visiting tea rooms rather than pubs. Gather up a group of tea lovers who like to explore different varieties and venues. You can do a crawl with just a handful of participants, but it’s more fun with a group of at least six to twelve. Remember, the more people in your group, the more teas you’ll get to sample.
Pick a day and date when everyone’s available for several hours, then choose three or four tea rooms to visit. Naturally this is easier in places like New York or Los Angeles, but there are many areas where tea rooms are situated a short drive from each other. Create maps to show the route you’ll be taking from one venue to the next – online mapping tools can help you accomplish this. Decide who’ll be driving if there’s some distance between venues. Sure, everybody can bring their own cars, but remember that a true crawl moves as a group. And don’t you want to chat with fellow group members while you’re crawling?
Once you’ve got your group, your destinations, and your date, contact each tea room at least a week in advance to ensure that they can accommodate you. Make reservations if required, allowing an hour to an hour and a half in each location, plus travel time.
Meet in the morning early enough to arrive at your first tea room around 10am. When you get there choose your teas, preferably a variety of different types, and be sure to share a little with your fellow crawlers so you can all talk about and compare the teas. You’ll need to order some light food as well, and you’ll probably want to plan a more substantial meal at one of the tea rooms. After you’ve enjoyed your tea and goodies at one location, head out to the next venue. And then the next.
Determine in advance who will be responsible for handling money. Pre-pay or arrange separate checks if possible; if not, designate one or two people to collect from each participant when the check arrives.
If you’re located in a “tea room desert,” as I am, select three or four people to host the group at their homes in lieu of visiting tea rooms. Serve homemade or store-bought treats along with two or three teas, borrowing teapots and teacups if necessary. Then just divvy up the costs for tea and food amongst all participants. And do offer to help clean up!
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