Tea, in its many forms, seems to be a miraculous, almost supernatural, substance. Its ambrosial qualities are known to allay ailment, lower health risks, promote sound snoozing, and in rare cases, incite political revolution.
Yet tea’s oldest and most widely accepted function is a social one, with elaborate afternoon tea parties becoming a popular occasion among the affluent in the 17th century. And while tea becoming accessible to lower classes turned it into a daily tradition in most homes, you can still have the cordial, upscale experience of afternoon tea right here in the Hudson Valley. The many tea rooms scattered across the region offer a unique experience, complete with delicious finger foods, delicate china, and loose teas from all over the globe.
In honor of National Hot Tea Month, check out a few of our favorite local tea rooms below. We hope you get inspired to head out with the crew to enjoy some soothing brews.
235 Main St, White Plains 914.428.1000; www.hastingstea.com
What to expect: A relaxed, contemporary tea lounge, Hastings Tea brews a wide variety of natural and organic loose teas from around the world, including Asia and Africa, carefully curated by their in-house tea specialists. They also serve finger foods, coffee, and lattes.
Specialty consumables: An section of their menu dedicated to signature drinks boasts unique mixtures, like honey rose oolong and Very Berry Hibiscus. Plus, Hastings Tea also serves matcha green tea lattes.
Favorite Trends: Co-owner Joan Jia says, “People are very health conscious now a days. Tea offers many health benefits [and] customers love the taste of our products with all the health benefits, no preservatives, no artificial favor or colors.”
Groups and Parties: Hastings Tea opens their doors to local community events, book launches, and live music performances. Tea and coffee tastings are organized throughout the year, and parties can be booked.
69 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel 845.225.8327; www.florriekayes.com
What to expect: Florrie Kaye’s is an extremely welcoming Victorian tea shop, staffed by family and friends with a love for tea. They serve loose teas from all over the world, including India, Africa, China, and Japan. Expect classic tea sandwiches that vary daily, like their signature coronation chicken salad on zucchini nut bread, plus scones, jam and cream, miniature cakes and pastries, and even Prosecco.
Specialty consumables: A selection of over 75 green, black, herbal, and white teas from Harney and Son’s. Owner Gina Aurisicchio has “personally admired” the quality of Harney and Son’s loose tea for years, which comes locally from Millerton in Dutchess County.
Favorite Trends: Aurisicchio enjoys incorporating beloved flavors. “Pumpkin Spice tea and scones were a big hit this past fall. Avocado tea sandwiches are also very popular and so delicious! In considering our health conscious, gluten conscious, nut free and vegan guests we offer a ‘Salad Card,’ where guests have their choice of proteins, lettuce, spring mix or spinach base, nuts, vegetables, cheeses, and six dressing options.”
Groups and Parties: Florrie Kayes is a popular venue for bridal and baby showers, as well as private business breakfasts. They also host cooking classes and off-premise cooking classes.
979 Main St, Peekskill 914.734.2520; www.kathleenstroom.com
What to expect: This river town mainstay offers a cozy English experience complete with floral wallpaper, mismatched china, and more than 60 herbal, black, green, and wellness teas that originate from all over the world.
Specialty consumables: Owner Vivian McKenzie boasts that Kathleen’s has “the best scones this side of the pond.” All food is seasonal, fresh, and prepared in-house. It is recommended you try their signature Mixed Berry Shortcake, a fresh baked scone topped with whipped cream, berries, and raspberry sauce.
Favorite Trends: McKenzie encourages her visitors to get away from restricting etiquette, and to enjoy a less formal, cordial tea time.
Groups and Parties: Kathleen’s opens its doors to groups 25-plus on Sundays, and welcomes kids parties, baby showers and bridal showers. They also offer catering all over Westchester.
2600 South Road, Poughkeepsie 845.204.9668; www.teatalkteas.com
What to expect: Tea Talk features more than 100 loose teas, teabags, and satchets, as well as more than 50 flavors of bubble tea. You can purchase gift boxes and tins, but the best part are their pet fish “Boba” and “Pu’er.”
Specialty consumables: In addition to green tea brownies baked fresh in their shop, Tea Talk’s “teas are from around the world, especially the popular demanded Harney and Son’s tea, flavored selection from Adiagio tea, and beautiful tea gifts from Tea Forte teas,” says tea Talks Jenna Mccarthy.
Favorite Trends: Mccarthy has noted that tea drinkers these days are seeking improved mental and physical wellness, turning to green tea for weight loss, tisanes for detox, shots of matcha for energy, and dark rose tea for skin health.
Groups and Parties: Tea Talk caters parties with coffee, one gallon, three gallon, or five gallon glass jars of their teas. Mccarthy says “Our teas are always a big hit at your party!”
3 N Broadway, Tarrytown (914) 332-8515; www.silvertipstea.com
What to expect: Silver Tips is serious about their tea. Carrying more than 150 teas, their focus is providing guests a perfectly steeped pot of tea every time, “whether they desire a mild cup or something strong or perhaps fruity or maybe soothing,” says owner Anupa Mueller.
Specialty consumables: Mueller boasts exclusive rights to the organic and fair trade teas from Makaibari Estate in Darjeeling. They also offer special teas for St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, and the fall and holiday season.
Favorite Trends: Tea-infused dishes and desserts have caught Mueller’s attention, influencing Silver Tip’s egg souchong sandwich in which the eggs have been marinated in Lapsang souchong tea.
Groups and Parties: Silver Tips offers customizable catering platters named after various teas that include sandwiches, scones, fruit tarts, and pastries. Silver Tips is also a large community player, holding tastings at local libraries and donating gift baskets for local events and within their community. Their shop features artwork from local artists, too.
Update 4/1/18: After 18 years, Silver Tips has closed their tea room in order to expand their web store. Customers can still order all their favorite teas and accompaniments online.
What to expect: Not actually a tea room, The Tea Experience is a full service tea party catering business. They can either help host, or cater a private tea party in your home or other location. Their loose teas are sourced from wholesale blenders, imported from China, Africa, India, and Japan.
Specialty consumables: Owner Leslie Allicks notes that tisanes have grown in popularity recently. Tisanes are teas brewed with fruits, chocolate, herbs, and spices, not actual tea leaves. The Tea Experience sells two very popular tisanes: Toasty Almond and Blue Eyes.
Favorite Trends: “Tea cocktails, mocktails, and tea tastings,” says Allicks.
15 Oakland Ave, Warwick 845.988.9499; www.facebook.com/pg/Charlottes-Tea-Room
What to expect: Charlotte’s is located within a transformed Victorian home, hiding three differently-themed rooms designed by owner Joanne Graney, a former commercial set designer from New York City.
Specialty consumables: They serve the popular Harney and Son’s tea.
Favorite Trends: Graney hates to see customers trying to eat finger food with utensils! According to the Charlotte’s School of Etiquette: No cutting scones with a knife, it’s bite-sized for a reason!
Groups and Parties: Charlotte’s hosts bridal showers and birthday parties, and caters as well.