TOP TEA TIMES AROUND THE WORLD
It’s Alway Teatime Somewhere
article and image by Carole Terwilliger Meyers
“Tea urges tranquility of the soul.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In England, a proper afternoon tea (sometimes called cream tea) is an elegant affair served in three stages, or all at once on a tiered tray. High tea is early supper and not at all special--perhaps a boiled egg and some toast. However, in the U.S. high tea refers to afternoon tea. Hope you aren’t confused. A few rules go with afternoon tea. Eat the scones first, then the savories and sandwiches, and the sweets last. Pinch the teacup handle raising your pinkie in the air, and never leave your spoon in the cup.
It is interesting to know that all tea types come from the same plant. Leaves receive different amounts of oxygen during processing, which is what makes them black, green, or oolong (in between black and green). Black teas get more oxygen, green teas get less. Unprocessed leaves make white tea.
I’ve personally enjoyed many of the tea times in this compilation. I hope you’ll get to try some of these yourself in your own travels.
Some of these tea times are more modest than a full-on afternoon tea; they are noted with **.
TOP TEA TIMES IN SAN FRANCISCO
As the King said in “Alice in Wonderland,” let’s “begin at the beginning.” For me that is tea times in my home town, San Francisco. From here, we will expand into the rest of the world.
Laurel Court Restaurant In the Fairmont San Francisco hotel.
Crown & Crumpet Tea Salon In Japantown.
Imperial Tea Court** In Ferry Building.
Japanese Tea Garden teahouse** In Golden Gate Park.
Lovejoy’s Tea Room In Noe Valley.
The Rotunda In Neiman Marcus, Union Square.
Palace Hotel On Market Street.
Samouvar Tea Lounge** In Yerba Buena Gardens.
Top of the Mark In InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. In December this is iconic bar turns itself over to Holiday Teas. But never fear, it does also still serve cocktails.
San Francisco Tea Times That Will Take You Around the World
Five Places: Tea Rooms
TOP TEA TIMES AROUND THE BAY
A’Cuppa Tea** On College Ave., in Elmwood.
Asha Tea House** On University Ave., downtown.
Far Leaves Tea** On San Pablo Ave., in West Berkeley.
Imperial Tea Court** (part of Epicurious Garden) On Shattuck Ave., in Gourmet Ghetto.
Tyme for Tea & Co. In Niles area.
Lisa’s Tea Treasures On Main Street.
Sophie’s Cuppa Tea** In Montclair village.
The Tearoom On College Avenue, in Rockridge neighborhood.
Tea Time On Ramona Street.
TOP TEA TIMES IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Camellia Tea Room On First St., downtown.
COLUMBIA STATE HISTORIC PARK
Columbia Kate’s Teahouse On Columbia St., back from the main street.
Green Gulch Farm** Sunday Tea Gathering occurs in a tea house built in the traditional Japanese style.
The White Hart On Lighthouse Ave.; on 2nd & 4th weekends.
The English Rose Tea Room Off Main St., on W. Neal St.
TOP TEA TIMES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The Disneyland Hotel At Steakhouse 55.
TOP TEA TIMES AROUND THE REST OF THE U.S.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach At veranda at the beachhouse.
Grand Hotel Has taken place in the parlor for more than 100 years.
Emlen Physick Estate In the Cafe.
The Peninsula New York On Fifth Avenue, in the Gotham Lounge.
The Plaza hotel In The Palm Court, on Fifth Avenue at Central Park.
The Russian Tea Room Midtown. Plus vegetarian, gluten-free, and children’s tea menus.
Tea & Sympathy In West Village.
Alice’s Teacup Upper East Side and Upper West Side.
The Heathman Hotel In the Tea Court Lounge, in Headwaters restaurant, on Broadway, downtown. Experience an exquisite Russian tea service with live jazz.
Hotel deLuxe In Gracie’s. Tea-based cocktails with the traditional afternoon tea are optional.
Teahouse** In Lan Su Chinese Garden, in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections.
TOP TEA TIMES ABROAD
Fairmont Banff Springs The Rocky Mountain Afternoon Tea is taken in the Rundle Lounge.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise In the Lakeview Lounge with a view of the lake and Victoria Glacier; within Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel In Lobby Lounge.
The Butchart Gardens Special vegetarian and children’s tea menu in summer.
Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse** Enjoyed while watching Sichuan Opera.
The Peninsula In The Lobby.
●JIUZHAIGOU VALLEY Located in a remote, mountainous area that is located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau.
●YAN'AN, in Shaanxi Province
Zaoyua Hotel This video depicting a Chinese tea ceremony takes a while. The way the lady makes the presentation is like a little dance.
Yak Butter Tea** Served in various shops and restaurants.
Burj Al Arab In the Sahn Eddar atrium restaurant in what many call the world’s most luxurious hotel.
article: Tea for Two
The Dorchester On Park Lane.
The Lanesborough, London Across from Hyde Park.
The Langham, London Afternoon tea at has been a tradition in the Palm Court here since 1865. In fact, the hotel claims it is the site where afternoon tea was invented.
Le Meridien Picadilly Is particularly family-friendly.
The Montague on the Gardens In Bloomsbury. The hotel is a joining of nine Georgian houses dating to 1815 that were once part of the Duke of Bedford’s estate. It was the 7th Duchess of Bedford who gave afternoon tea its name in the early 1800s. On Sundays a pianist plays from 2 to 5 p.m.
The Orangery, Kensington Palace Afternoon tea service runs from noon to 6 p.m. in this this elegant Georgian structure (it was once the palace’s citrus house) built in 1704 for Queen Anne.
The Original Maids of Honour Near the main Victoria Gate entrance Kew Royal Botanical Gardens.
The Ritz London The most expensive tea in London. Reserve 4 weeks ahead.
Yew Tree Farm** Once owned by Beatrix Potter, this farm's tea room is now restored and reopened and is decorated with Potter’s original furnishings. The terrific clotted cream and scrumptious housemade wild Damson plum jam are to-die for.
Belinda’s Near Amberley Castle. Everything is made in house at this 16th century tea room.
Ritz Paris In Salon Proust. A refined tea is served on white Limoges porcelain by Haviland. My tea of choice is the fragrant and divine Ritzy Earl Grey.
Sunshine Pancakes** At Skorrastaour farm valley of Nordfjordur.
Ashford Castle Served in the magnificent, yet casual, Drawing Room lounge.
Merrion Hotel The hotel’s famous Art Tea is served in the Drawing Rooms lounges.
The Balmoral Tea is taken under a two-story ceiling in the luxurious Palm Court, and dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House** Cold pearl milk tea—also known in the U.S. as bubble or boba tea--originated at this Taiwan tea house in the early 1980s. Now you can take a do-it-yourself workshop that teaches you how to make both that and the original cold Chinese tea.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers blogs at Travels With Carole.
Ms. Meyers is also the author of “Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games & Activities”
copyright 2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers