Living in a state with such a prestigious history can make you wish for a little refined culture in your daily life. And what’s more cultured than a proper afternoon tea? These 12 tea rooms around Virginia serve up tea service in different fashions and styles from around the world, teaching guests about the tradition and customs that are deeply rooted in the simple act of drinking a cup of tea.
Pink Bicycle Tea Room—Occoquan
The Pink Bicycle Tea Room serves a Classic English tea with scones and a variety of smaller snacks like English Cucumber sandwiches. This shop serves teas from all over the world, including exotic blends like the Pearls of the Nile South African Tea, the Himalaya Green Tea, and the Irish Breakfast Tea. They even have a tea service called “The Princess Tea” for kids under 10 that substitutes lemonade or apple juice, giving younger children the chance to experience a proper tea. The Pink Bicycle Tea Room can seat groups up to 30 people with reservations.
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar—Charlottesville
This international tea room and restaurant is in the downtown mall in Charlottesville. Once you step inside, the Bohemian vibe is an unexpected yet inviting surprise. They serve over 50 varieties of teas and herbal infusions in a colorful, eclectic environment that includes hookahs and throw pillows. The restaurant serves an impressive array of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes. While the shop is very new-age and laid back, the teas are sourced from several countries and are of a world-class caliber.
Teaism Old Town—Alexandria
Teaism in old-town Alexandria is an Asian-inspired restaurant and teahouse. Come for the afternoon tea service that includes sweets & savory items, tea, and an optional glass of Prosecco. They offer traditional caffeinated teas and decaf teas that are made with a mix of fruits, herbs, and flowers. Teaism focuses on providing clean, wholesome loose-leaf teas as well as a less formal setting compared to traditional Asian and English tea houses.
The Tea Cart—Berryville
If you’re searching for a decadent menu to go with your traditional tea service, check out the Tea Cart in Berryville. They have an extensive selection of curated teas from around the world, but the unique experience you get at the Tea Cart blends the traditional British Afternoon Tea with the charm and atmosphere of an old-fashioned Southern tea service. They serve heavier British fare like Shepherd’s Pie and an assortment of finger sandwiches if you are in the mood for a light snack. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about the hand-blended loose teas, providing an educational element to the experience of afternoon tea.
Victorian Tea Station—Hampton
Victorian Tea Station has a full afternoon tea available by reservation, and they even put together tea parties to-go, allowing customers to put together an impressive classic tea package that can be served at home. Held in a classic Victorian manor, the Victorian Tea Station gives you the impression that you have stepped back in time into a proper socialite event. The finger sandwiches also have a southern feel, with traditional choices like pimento cheese and chicken salad.
Historic Rosemont Manor—Berryville
The Historic Rosemont Manor’s tea service pulls out all the stops to create a luxury experience. Huge while columns line the front porch of this old-fashioned antebellum home, looking like a home straight out of Gone with the Wind. Only 40 minutes from Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, this 60-acre property also houses an elegant Bed & Breakfast. You’ll find true Southern Hospitality in the same elegant surroundings as Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Eisenhower did in the past. While Rosemont Manor only has tea services every few months publicly, they allow for private tea parties for groups of ten or more. If your tea party includes more than 20 people, you get a free night’s stay during the week at the B&B. The tea services have a rotating menu, but include finger sandwiches, scones, elegant desserts, and teas to go with each course.
Crest Hill Antiques and Tea Room—The Plains
Crest Hill Antiques and Tea Room is only an hour from D.C., but in the heart of Virginia’s “Horse Country”, it feels like worlds away. In addition to beautiful 19th and 20th century European and American antiques, you’ll find a cozy tea room with lovely fare and beautiful delicate porcelain China. The team room has a warm and welcoming feel, shying away from the typical pretentious environment. They brew over 35 top-quality tea varieties, such as blends of black, herbal, green, white, and rooibos. For food, Crest Hill offers tea sandwiches, fruit plates, and salads, along with scones, cakes, and pastries for dessert. Reservations are recommended at this popular tea room.
Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa—Virginia Beach
The Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa is a soothing mix of an upscale spa and a classic tea room. Wonderful spa experiences are complemented by the healthy organic tea options. In addition to serving teas, they use the tea leaves, oils, and extracts in the products used during the spa treatments, resulting in a luxurious eco-friendly spa treatment that leaves you feeling tranquil and relaxed. There are over 90 varieties of teas available for guests, and the staff can suggest teas to combat allergies, help with a cold, relieve fatigue, or just help you relax.
White Oak Tea Tavern—Troutville
This Pub style tea room in Troutville takes you back in time, as it operates in the historic Cloyd House, built in 1783. Read about the fascinating history of the cabin while you sit by the fire and read the paper, all while enjoying a pot of fine tea. The White Oak Tea Tavern is more homey and casual than a traditional English tea room, allowing visitors to focus more on the quality of the tea rather than proper manners and etiquette.
Earth & Tea Café—Harrisonburg
A soothing tea shop in downtown Harrisonburg, Earth & Tea Café offers a Middle-Eastern style tea service and lunch menu. The café is filled with eclectic décor and often features live music. They have over 40 exotic tea varieties, using white, green, and black teas, as well as blends, herbal and oolong teas. They serve up cuisine that is both ethnic and organic, with dishes like pita wraps, tapas, and other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
And Opening Soon:
Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room—Staunton
Instead of focusing on the upscale version of English high tea, the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room serves tea that you would expect to find at an old-fashioned farm in the English Countryside. Walk into a replica of Anne Hathaway’s original English cottage (not the actress, but Shakespeare’s wife) to an array of teas straight from England, along with many other ingredients brought from across the Atlantic. The cheddar cheese is actually sourced from the village of Cheddar in the United Kingdom, the Devonshire cream was truly made in Devon, England… If it is possible to source it from the UK, this tea room makes it happen. Their light lunches including scones served with clotted cream and jam, or heavier fare such as the Ploughman’s Lunch, a traditional English cold meal consisting of cheese, pickles, and breads. The thatched cottage is far from intimidating, and is an ideal choice for visitors looking to enjoy a traditional tea without any of the typical posh attitude associated with tea service. This tea room opens early May 2016.
Wholesale Tea Shops:
These places are less about the experience and more about providing tastings and wholesale teas for purchase. They are great options for people who want to serve friends and family at their own house but still need the supplies for a world-class tea experience.
Sample nearly 100 loose-leaf teas at Dominion Tea. You can take a bag of your favorite teas to go or sit down for a pot of tea with a few friends. They offer a rotating tea flight so you can try a few different types of teas, enjoying unusual flavors like Bai Hao Silver Needles or Dragon Well. They offer suggestions and information about the teas so you can learn about where the teas originated and the properties of each style.
Quintin’s Tea Emporium—Virginia Beach
The focus at Quintin’s Tea is sampling and selling the finest loose leaf teas available at reasonable prices. There are more than 150 teas in the Virginia Beach store, and they recently opened a second smaller store in Norfolk. Both locations have a small, cozy room where one can enjoy a pot or cup of tea by themselves or with friends. They have all the items one would need to have a proper tea at home, like Demerara sugar, Clotted Cream, and Lemon Curd. Visitors can also purchase biscuits, wafers, and shortbread to eat with their tea.
Discover Teas in Williamsburg avoids using sweeteners, preservatives, or artificial flavors in their teas, resulting in high-quality, fresh tea blends. The staff at Discover Teas are passionate about sharing their knowledge of fine teas with customers, both online and in-store. They sell hand-picked loose teas from around the world, emphasizing ethical and fair trade practices. You can take your tea to-go, or the location has a Blend-Your-Own-Tea Bar where you can try an old favorite, something new, or even make your own custom blend.
The owner of Carytown Teas, Patricia Guillouard Adams, was born and raised in Paris, France, and after moving to Richmond in 2005, she noticed a need for a proper tea shop in the area. Her goal was to open a shop that would be similar to the ones she grew up with in France. Her shop partners with small family farms and tea estates worldwide to offer customers over 150 fair trade, organic teas along with many custom medicinal tea blends.
These tea rooms are well-versed in the art of brewing fine teas, whether you are looking for a refined experience with Earl Grey, in the mood for a calming cup of Chamomile, or need an energy boost in the form of a high-caffeine black tea. Have you experienced any great tea rooms in Virginia? Let us know if we have missed any local favorite tea spots around the commonwealth!
© pkeppel for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2016. |