I really like going to Highland Coffees whenever I can. They don’t have the biggest variety of teas (I counted 34 on their website), but what they do have is of good quality. They even have a few organic teas, which is rather uncommon in my area. I can’t tell from their website if they use a particular company’s teas or if they source their teas directly from suppliers and blend themselves. I will ask next time I go. Anyway, they will sell any of their teas to you in 4 oz. increments for prices that range from $4.50 to $8.95, depending on the type of tea, which to me is extremely reasonable and in some cases downright cheap!
They are primarily a coffee house, as you might have guessed, and their coffee is ALWAYS high quality. They roast it in house and will also sell it to you in 4 oz. increments, in whole beans or ground for you according to your taste.
What I love best about this place is the ambiance. It’s very quietly artsy, there’s plenty of seating, and they always play relaxing music. They have an advertising area next to the counter for local art events and concerts. It’s right near LSU, so there are always college students around working their little hearts out. The employees are friendly and helpful, and you can get unlimited free re-steeps of your tea leaves. They serve homemade pastries as well, and bagels which they source from New York Bagel Company. It’s just a great little place to go unwind, get a snack and some tea, and listen to life going by. I have spent many an hour there just doing a crossword in utter peace. They also have a patio area out to the side where you can go if the weather’s nice, with a mural and an arbor and plenty of landscaping, a perfect little secluded spot. I give this place two thumbs up. I’d give more if I had more than two.
This place is not a tea house. It is primarily a spice and olive oil store, but they also sell teas which the owners say they acquire from a friend of theirs in California. The variety is not the best, but the quality is. They’ve even had a few teas win competitions. Definitely worth checking out, if you’re ever in Baton Rouge and looking for some local flavor.
I have always had an authentic English style tea experience at this place. The feel is very general-store-combined-with-restaurant, which lends to the very homey atmosphere. The building follows the aesthetic of most businesses in this area of Covington, which tend to look like Victorian-style houses—perfect, in my opinion, for a British teahouse.
The decor is quaint—knickknacks everywhere, spindly tables and chairs, pressed white lace tablecloths, hardwood floors, a fireplace, and even a cardboard cutout of the Queen. The tables are set with china and silver, and no two sets of china are the same. You can sit in the main room or one of four smaller side rooms, including a tiny sunny alcove called the Sanctuary, if you desire a more private dining experience (it comfortably sits up to four people), and a room called the Churchill room, which is a little comfier, with several armchairs and a sofa instead of wooden chairs and a coffee table instead of a traditional dining table.
All the food is made from scratch, from the crumpets to the shepherd’s pie to the cake balls. You can have as little or as much food as you like, from their “English Cream Tea” (just tea and scones) to their “High Windsor” (tea, two types of scones, two types of mini quiches, finger sandwiches, cake balls, and chocolate covered strawberries) to their lunch items like full-size quiches, salads, and sandwiches.
But enough about the food. They’ve finally uploaded their full tea menu onto their website. It is extensive, for a restaurant—I count 116 teas, including blacks, greens, herbals, oolongs, pu-erhs, whites, rooiboses, and fruit teas. They have a very wide variety, from straight teas to flavored teas to organics. And of course, you can order any mix of teas you desire. Their menu briefly describes the flavor of each tea, and though it does not tell you what all is in each blend, the manager and the owner certainly can. That brings me to another thing I love about The English Tea Room—the passion of the people who run it. Not only are they avid tea drinkers themselves, they really talk to their customers to find out what people love about their business, and they make sure that those things stay the same, no matter what other changes are made. They appreciate that the tea business is not “just business”, and I have not yet been there when the manager or the owner (or both) did not stop by and talk to us, even just to ask how we were doing. If I have one complaint about this place, it would be that it is too far from my house!