In 1840, the Duchess of Bedford shared her guilty secret of enjoying tea and snacks a few hours before dinner, setting a trend that would evolve to become a tradition that we still love to enjoy today. Decadent teas, flutes of Champagne and pretty pastries are a served, while tasty finger foods and potent cocktails company them. This may shock the Duchess of Bedford if she was still here today. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy this experience here in Los Angeles, continue reading.
What is Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840’s. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm. It is composed of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes. Interestingly, scones were not a common feature of early Afternoon Tea and were only introduced in the twentieth century! The most common teas that were served during afternoon tea were Earl Grey Tea, Assam Tea and Herbal Chamomile Tea.
Afternoon Tea was initially used as a private social event for women who climbed the upper echelons of society. These receptions could have as many as two hundred guests with an open ‘at home’ invitation to visit between 4pm and 7pm, during which they could come and go as they pleased; this was the genesis of the Afternoon Tea as we know it. Today, Afternoon Tea is usually enjoyed as an occasional indulgence or to celebrate a special event, such as a birthday, a pre-wedding party, or baby shower with a group of friends.
Now that you have the history of Afternoon Tea, we thought you might want to check out a tea room in our backyard of Los Angeles. Here are some cool spots we found just for you.
1. Rose & Blanc Tea Room
Starting at just $38 per person, the Rose & Blanc tea room is a great spot for afternoon tea. They pride themselves on having a serious tea drinking culture with teas from around the world. If you’re looking to pair your teas with delicious bites like their spinach quiche, egg and apple pesto croissant sandwiches, macaroons, scones, and more, this is the spot for you! Right now, they only take reservations on Friday’s and Saturday’s. They tend to book up rather quick so make your reservation in advance!
2. The Peninsula Beverly Hills
We could not make a list of the best tea spots here in LA without including the iconic Peninsula in Beverly Hills. It doesn’t get any more luxurious than afternoon tea at the Living Room inside the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Prices here are a bit more steep, starting at $115 per person which includes finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream, along with an option for free-flowing champagne by Laurent Perrier. To add to the delicious food and champagne, you will be accompanied by a classical harpist and pianist. How dreamy does that sound?
3. The T Room
The T Room is one of the most affordable options to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea in LA. Located in Montrose, the family-run operation offers tea service for $28 that includes lingonberry chicken sandwiches, warm scones, and plenty of pastries. They have a long list of teas to try so you can come back often and try them all!
4. The Wayfarer Downtown Los Angeles
If you’re looking for a tea room that is whimsical and unique, this is your spot. The Alice in Wonderland-themed tea service (yes, you read that right!) is decked out in mood lighting, plush couches, and even has a Zoltar fortune telling machine and vintage pinball game. It’s located in the basement of the Wayfarer hotel and it sure you leave you wanting more! The tea service starts at $45 per person and includes standard sweet and savory offerings. Best of all are the boozy tea infusions, like the Curiouser & Curiouser made with chai tea and rum.
5. Hello Kitty Grand Cafe
This tea spot is located in Orange County which may seem far (LA people, IYKYK) but this spot is worth the drive! Located in a speakeasy-like space hidden behind the Grand Cafe, this is every Hello Kitty lovers dream spot. It’s decked out with plush pink booths and an onslaught of sweets and savories including a smoked salmon sandwich on a pretzel croissant and a goblet of fresh fruit with coconut cream. Tea is priced at $60 per person at this spot. Don’t forget to make a reservation before making the drive out there!
6. Rose Tree Cottage
Sitting just east of LA is the Rose Tree Cottage. The name alone could make us want to give it a try. This tea house is one of the most charming in town. The menu consists of cucumber sandwiches, scones with Devonshire clotted cream, and sticky toffee pudding all served by a suited butler. The dress code here is enforced so be sure to dress up for this one.
You could even check out many of our loose leaf tea collections at The Tea Kitchen and host a little Afternoon Tea Party in the comfort of your own home. With many flavored loose leaf teas or black teas to try out, you could try a few host some friends to a tea party everyone will enjoy!