Two months before the famous Boston incident in 1773, the Philadelphia Tea Party made news when American colonists intercepted a British tea ship and forced it to return its cargo back to the mother country. Philly tea aficionados haven’t turned their back on the delicious, aromatic hot beverage in centuries, and the city has scores of terrific tea rooms to show for it. From traditional English blends to international artisan brews, the City of Brotherly Love loves its tea. So pull up a chair, kick back, relax, raise your little pinky finger and enjoy tea time at one of these top tea houses in and around Philadelphia.
The Painted Tea Cup
220 S. State Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082
The atmosphere here couldn’t be more lovely! A 1900s Victorian home, charming rooms and elegant table settings make The Painted Tea Cup an experience to remember. High tea, complete with a delicious and ample array of soup, sandwiches, cakes and pastries, is served in the first floor living and dining rooms, while the converted second floor bedrooms are ideal for intimate tea parties. The French vanilla, pumpkin and mango/orange/pomegranate black blend teas, served with cinnamon sticks, candied sugars and orange slices, are definite must-tries.
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The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop
713 N. 4th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Voted the number two tea house by Philly Hot List in 2012, The Random Tea Room is a restaurant, herbal apothecary, art gallery, music venue and spa all wrapped up in one. Of course, its main attraction is its more than 40 delicious international teas. If you need to soothe a scratchy throat, try the Glowing Throat, a licorice, red raspberry leaf, slippery elm, fennel nettle and sassafras blend, perfect for days when you’re under the weather. Local favorites, however, like Moroccan Mint and the Chai Masala, are transcendent taste sensations that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Simpson House Tea Room
110 Pottstown Pike
Chester Springs, PA 19425
Pull up to this 1890s white clapboard Victorian farmhouse with green shutters and wraparound porch, and you instantly know you’re in for a treat. The expansive menu offers soups, scones, high tea and scrumptious lunch entrees like Scottish quiche, flaky croissants stuffed with chunks of chicken and assortments of wedged cheddars and fresh fruits. Experienced staff help guests make selections from a long list of jolly good English, flavored black, decaffeinated black, red, green, white and oolong teas. You can’t go wrong with the Lavender Earl Grey and Baroness Grey, but if you’re more adventurous, take a sip of the Georgia Peach or Belgium Chocolate.
The Talking Tea Cup
301 W. Butler Ave.
Chalfont, PA 18914
The Talking Tea Cup in Chalfont has the most beautiful setting of any tea room in the Philadelphia area, hands down. Owner Kathy Heck has opened up her 250-year-old country farmhouse and grounds to serve guests with scrumptious high teas, wonderful breakfasts and lunches and fabulous cakes and pastries. Her vast selection of more than 100 teas rivals that of London tea rooms. Everything from delicate white teas, like White Peony and Peach Blossom, to decadent dessert teas, including Chocolate Cream and Rooibos White Chocolate Toffee Mint, make this one of the top tea houses this side of the pond.
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Tilly Mint’s Tea Room
20 W. Chestnut St.
Souderton, PA 18964
Blimey! It’s almost as if you’re reveling in a good cuppa tea in jolly ole England. This Anglophile’s dream deserves its number one rating in 2013 from Philly Hot List. Trish, the owner, offers a massive menu of teas, including a great selection of black, flavored black, green, white, oolong, herbal and decaffeinated. Try the Queen Catherine, a delicious black tea blend, or one of the monthly specials, such as Coconut Grove or Peach Melba. Guests can order sandwiches, soups, salads and scones, all served on English bone china, then visit the restaurant’s on-site St. James Gift Shop for loose tea, tea pots and curios.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.