A new trend has emerged in our increasingly fast-paced world, specifically in New York and Los Angeles: elaborate afternoon tea. Teahouses are a sanctuary from the outside world, an escape from social media and digital devices, and customers are drawn to the nostalgic quiet over the hustle and bustle found in coffee houses.
Across both cities, elaborate afternoon tea services have become a main attraction at over a dozen venues, each offering a unique experience. From the “Classic” prix fixe tea service at Brooklyn High Low to the British charm of Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena, afternoon tea is experiencing a resurgence. Even modern additions, like Tea Around Town’s double-decker bus offering sightseeing with organic Earl Grey, add a contemporary touch to this timeless tradition.
The formal and intimate setting offers an ideal venue for conversation; many places don’t allow devices at the table. As Mary Fry, owner of the Rose Tree Cottage in Southern California, explains, “You cannot be watching the Dodger game and having tea. It’s a time to calm yourself and enjoy conversation with family and friends and bring yourself down to where your brain should be.” Fry’s husband, Edmund, is originally from England and he goes as far as wearing a tux and tails when he serves customers.
Tea salons are growing in popularity among the 20-30-year-old crowd, who appear in fancy hats or fascinators. Whether it’s the historic charm of The Plaza Hotel or the modern minimalism of Floating Mountain Tea House, afternoon tea is making a quiet yet profound comeback in the bustling metropolises of New York and Los Angeles.