I had the opportunity to have afternoon tea at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon today. The salon itself is beautiful from the moment you step in with a wood flood, piano, and elegant matching uniforms for the waitstaff. Even the walk or lift ride to the salon is quite grand. I was received by the hostess who took my jacket and directed me to sit on a couch before being led to my table. The tea-ware features the signature Fortnum and Mason teal and compliments the salon decorations itself. I was very impressed with the tea selection which includes a whole section dedicated to single-estate teas. I was able to choose from English and Scottish-grown teas which are incredibly rare. I went with the English-grown tea. The waitress was not as helpful as I would have liked in terms of describing the tea. She brought me some samples to smell before finalizing my choice, but she was not able to make any recommendations for me based on tasting notes. I was pretty disappointed with the way the tea was served. Tea leaves were thrown in a pot with no regard for water temperature or infusion time. I was not able to take the leaves out of the pot to prevent over-infusion. That being said, the tea I ordered seem to be okay even with the indefinite infusion so I was not subject to a bitter brew but it is still a nice touch to see some consistency with how teas are served to customers. Only one extra pot of hot water was provided at the table between my afternoon tea companion and I. Again, this is unfortunate as only one of us was able to drink a second infusion of our chosen tea and, with the water sitting on the table, it was too cool once it was ready to be used. The accompanying food was fairly standard- sandwiches were a bit dry and scones were too doughy and crumbly (I prefer them to be dense). The dessert treats were of higher quality and the extra nice thing was that you could get unlimited refills of any of the afternoon tea treats. At the end of the meal a sneaky ‘discretionary charge’ of about 12% was added to the bill- something that I hadn’t heard anything about beforehand. Maybe that’s standard for this area of London but I felt that, for what I got, everything was already quite expensive for me. Overall, I would say that this afternoon tea experience is more about the ‘show quality’ than anything else- it is the quintessential English afternoon tea experience. You’ll love it if you don’t really care about how your tea is served. I just always feel it is a great shame when beautiful single-estate teas are not served with the utmost care. One of the redeeming qualities of this location is the exquisite tea sales floor. Next time I might just splurge on my own loose-leaf and create my own afternoon tea experience at home!
As of right now, in my tea-tasting “career”, this is my favourite place for tea that I’ve been to! I went to Cup Tea Lounge today for their afternoon tea and I was absolutely delighted at my experience there. They really know how to create a quality tea-drinking and meal experience. Not only were the treats delicious and plentiful but the tea was of high quality and brewed properly (at the correct temperature and for the correct amount of time for each individual tea). The highlight of my tea experience is that I was allowed to drink as many different teas on the menu as I wanted as part of my experience. I was able to try 6 different teas in total (between me and my afternoon tea companion) and, as was mentioned before, they were all quite good. The venue itself was a curiosity, with the walls to the ceilings in tile. My friend described it as “drinking tea in a bathroom” but I always love seeing what interesting architecture Scotland has to offer. My afternoon tea at Cup Tea Lounge was absolutely stellar from the well-presented menus to the presentation of each course. The only drawback, perhaps, would be the price of £22 per person which would keep me from returning as often as I’d like. Still with all the food and different teas I was able to try, I would say it is definitely worth it.
A nice place for tea and a snack. At my first visit here, I tried the afternoon tea but I discovered that the scones are absolutely terrible. Maybe it was just a bad batch but they were very cakey and crumbly in texture- disappointing enough not to try ordering them again. On my second visit I ordered a soup and sandwich with my tea; both of which were okay albeit overpriced. The shining quality of this tea shop is that they have a good selection of tea and they prepare the tea properly (correct temperature and infusion time), which is a rarity in Edinburgh. I was disappointed that my tea leaves were taken away after my first infusion but my pot of Keemun was quite tasty. This is the only place in Edinburgh that I know of where you can get decent meal food (not just cakes and pastries) alongside good, properly prepared tea.
A great place to get a light lunch with tea. It is a pretty neat tea set up- you make up your own tea bag with loose-leaf tea into a tea bag and then there is a canteen of boiling water that you use to fill your mug. The food here is amazing- prepared fresh and I’m still day-dreaming about the quiche I was served (caramelized onions and maple syrup glaze). The big draw to this shop is pairing of tea and a meal with yarn! They sell local wool and have some nice comfy areas to work on a project while you sip your tea.
The Dome is a great place for a meal with a great atmosphere. The building is lovely with high ceilings and intricate stained-glass. Unfortunately, the focus at this establishment is not on the actual tea and more towards the fancy dining experience. The tea room itself is quite grand with high ceilings, fancy carpeting, exquisite drapes and a lovely view of downtown Edinburgh through the window. When I asked to smell a sample of the teas on the menu for the afternoon the server told me politely that they didn’t offer that. I really wanted a green tea but I was informed that it was served with boiling water but that I would be able to have a flask of cold water if I wanted an infusion at a lower temperature. The tea was served in very very hot metal kettles which were exceedingly difficult to pour, even with the paper towels offered to wrap around the handle. I was disheartened to see that my leaves were already in the kettle with the boiling water and had a flask of ice water delivered to me a little while later. Needless to say, the tea was very bitter. The metal kettles also didn’t provide a way to stop the infusion so I was made to drink a green tea throughout my meal that had been infusing the entire time. However, this did necessitate me trying this tea with milk and a bit of sugar, which was a unique experience but I much rather have a tea with no additives. Adding sugar give my tea an unpleasant aftertaste, I find. The food offered was pretty standard afternoon tea fare with nothing too fancy. Sandwich types included egg, salmon, beef, and sliced ham- nothing that I wouldn’t be able to easily put together at home myself. The server was not able to tell me what all the desserts were because one was “too difficult to pronounce”. I found that the scones were too cakey for my liking. Overall, I am disappointed that I paid a premium afternoon tea price (18 pounds per person) for a very standard afternoon tea experience and ruined tea. The atmosphere makes “The Dome” worth checking out but I would not recommend staying for the full afternoon tea.
This tea location has a lovely Alice in Wonderland theme to it. There are two tea rooms- one being “wonderland forest” themed with a dark forest landscape (unfortunately this was just printed on the wall and the images/scenery were distorted from up close)- the other being “wonderland castle” themed with a traditional tea room decor and white and red plastic roses on the wall. The centre-piece in the “wonderland forest”-themed room was the fully set tea table upside-down on the ceiling- a call to the Mad-Hatter’s tea party, I’m sure. The menu is quite extensive with lots of sandwich and pastry options. On my visit, I ordered the traditional afternoon tea for 1 which came with a sandwich, salad, root vegetable crisps and a high quality 1st flush black tea. The reason that I have to give a low rating to this so-called “tea room” is that the leaves were simply thrown in a pot without any way to remove them after the infusion time was over. This led to a lovely first cup but the subsequent cups were bitter, with the last one being un-drinkable. This would be a nice place to visit if you were planning to order a tisane which can infuse indefinitely. The loose leaf tea sold here comes in flimsy paper bags with a large cellophane window and the bags are not labelled with the name of the tea.
This is a tea room located on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile so it is a nice place to visit during a busy day of exploring the city. The tea room has a cluttered vintage decor including a type writer, needle point pieces of work on the wall and old books on shelves. At the entrance there is a glass case featuring an old petrol ration book. The menu has a great selection of food- breakfast (including a full traditional Scottish breakfast), lunch (Sandwich rolls and soups) and sweets. I ordered a cream tea and the waitress seemed surprised when I asked to smell the teas before choosing one. She brought me some small samples in the cream and jam holder glass containers but I found that they were strongly scented from their last dish-wash and had trouble smelling the actual tea. I selected the Scottish Breakfast which was brought to me steeping in a pot without an infuser. I had no choice but to drink an over-infused brew when I got to my second and subsequent cups. The scones were a bit to flaky for my liking and the cream was not the traditional clotted cream that most tea places serve with scones. The raspberry jam provided with the scone (there is no jam flavour selection) was quite delicious! I was also able to try a bite of the carrot cake which was incredibly moist and very good. I would go back but more so for the desserts and food than the tea.
Staff is very knowledgeable about the teas. There is an amazing selection of non-flavoured teas and the flavoured teas are impressive as well. This seems like a place that would not be afraid to use a flavouring to complement a high quality tea. Tea is prepared at the appropriate temperature and the staff will ensure that it is never over-infused. The store is set up to do gaiwan infusion as well, if you wish. You can have your own tea tray and little yixing pot.
I always have a pleasant time when visiting Anteaques whether I am there for a loose leaf tea purchase or to have a sit down tea. They don’t offer a formal afternoon tea or high tea package but you can still order a pot with scones and a variety of sweet treats. The selection of jam with the scones is very interesting- I had a violet jam and my friends choose apricot and raspberry. Fancy truffles are also offered in pistachio, honey and almond, coconut, strawberry, salted caramel and a selection of others. There are seasonal treats such as mince pies and candied clementines. The owner is very friendly and always greets customers with a smile. He is very passionate about tea and his tea shop! Of course the decor of the shop is antiques themed. Certainly a most interesting place to sit down for tea. The selection of loose leaf teas is quite impressive and I find the prices to be quite good as compared to other tea shops in Edinburgh.
I was greeted at the door and given two different oolong samples to taste as well as some dry leaf samples to take home with me. There is a limited selection of strait teas. Small tea samples are available for purchase and are packed well in a air-sealed package. The owner is very knowledgeable about the teas that he sells.