Afternoon Tea was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, to get her through the long period between lunch and dinner, not served in her abode until 8 p.m., according to Historic-UK.com.
That being the case, you might have surmised that Afternoon Tea consists of more than just a hot beverage. It always comes with scrummy nosh as well. You may find scones with clotted cream and freshly made jams, a tasty selection of sweet and savory pastries and finger sandwiches. And of course, there’s British-style biscuits to set you right.
You don’t have to be in England to enjoy Afternoon Tea. There are several places in the Queen City of the Plains (and surrounding areas) where you can have the experience.
Kathy Curry, visiting from Georgia with her two young daughters, said one of the things they looked most forward to this year was Afternoon Tea at the Brown.
“It’s magical,” Curry said. “It makes the girls feel like they’re princesses. And I love it too.”
Morgan Bobo handles press requests for the Brown. She said Afternoon Tea has been served at the Brown Palace since 1986.
“It’s presently hosted in the historic and stunning Atrium Lobby. Guests can enjoy a variety of teas topped with Devonshire cream shipped directly from England while listening to the soft sounds of the grand piano float through the lobby and natural light streaming through the stained-glass ceiling,” she said. “The rich history isn’t the only thing that makes the experience unique, as all of the honey utilized for tea service comes directly from the property’s rooftop bee colonies and can be purchased on property to take home.”
The Brown Palace does have perhaps the most storied Afternoon Tea in the metro area. But recent years have seen plenty of competition spring up from Castle Rock to Louisville and all spots in-between, keeping this decidedly British tradition alive and well in Colorado.
“It’s about the experience,” said Michael Herrera, proud Denver dad. “My daughter loved being able to get dressed up to go to Tea.”
Elaine Bryant and her husband, Joel, a trained chef, are the owners of The Lumber Baron, a historic Bed and Breakfast in the Potter Highlands neighborhood. Bryant says they started offering Afternoon Tea about six months after opening the Inn because it seemed like such a natural fit. The Victorian mansion is the perfect setting for their traditional English tea service featuring a variety of fancy finger sandwiches, scones, crumpets and fresh cookies.
Bryant says she honed the customer service skills it takes to run a B&B serving up a different hot beverage — coffee — for Starbucks, where she worked for 13 years before becoming an Inn Keeper.
Speaking of kids, Bryant said they’re more than welcome and get the same white tablecloth and antique china treatment as anyone else.
“We love having children come to the High Tea,” she said. “And they love coming, The little girls, especially. They just know that it’s something special.”
Where to go
Here’s a list of venues currently offering Afternoon Tea in the metro area.
The Brown Palace
321 17th Street, Denver, CO 80202
palace.com/dining/restaurants/ afternoon-tea or call 303-297-3111 to reserve
D Bar Denver
494 E. 19th Avenue, Denver, CO 80203
Call 303- 861-4710 for reservations
1450 S. Broadway Street, Denver CO 80210
Reserve your English Tea Time spot by calling 303-777-2255
18551 Mainstreet, Parker CO 80134
Tea Parties can be booked to your schedule, for parties of two to 24.
Swiss Floral and Gift Cottage
9890 West 44th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Call 303-424-7421 to reserve
700 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027
Call 303-666-8020 for reservations
Or visit https://www.thehuckle berry.com/afternoon-tea for more information
The Lumber Baron
2555 West 37th Avenue, Denver, CO 80211
303-477-8205 to reserve
If you haven’t taken Afternoon Tea before, here’s a primer: Tea comes by the pot, with different loose-leaf varieties to choose from, while the treats are always served family style, but on much fancier platters than your average chicken nachos. Price covers both tea and food per person. So, no need to fuss. Just make a reservation, show up and as they say across the pond, “Bob’s your uncle.”