That fancy tearoom is also hard to pull out your laptop and work in. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

That fancy tearoom is also hard to pull out your laptop and work in. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Have you ever wondered if that fancy tearoom experience is worthwhile? The answer is, in a word, yes! In another word, no! Going to a fancy tearoom is an experience that many find worthwhile. And there are many of us who do not. It all depends on why you go there. The fancy tearoom has clean tablecloths, linen napkins (never paper!), a general décor that is relaxing and inviting, porcelain or bone china teawares, and a menu that includes all sorts of delectable treats, both traditional and non-traditional.

When Going to That Fancy Tearoom Is Worthwhile

Special occasions like Mother’s Day (you all took mom to a tearoom, right?), a birthday, an anniversary, entertaining friends and relatives from out of town, a baby or wedding shower, and any other such events are great times to enjoy visiting that fancy tearoom. You can get that feeling of being a bit pampered by the people serving you, spend all your time enjoying the company of your guests, not have to stress out when you are told that the only tea you have on hand will cause one of your guests to collapse in anaphylactic shock, and make sure your guests feel like the really special people they are. A chain of tearooms in Britain really stands out (but then, hey, they’re practically a British institution): Betty’s (see my experience at the one in York here). There are also some tearooms in the U.S. that do a worthwhile job. One that gets great reviews is Cambridge Tea House in Marble Cliff, Ohio (yes, Ohio – who woulda thunk it!).

When Going to That Fancy Tearoom Is NOT Worthwhile

If you want to experience really good tea served in a manner to bring out its multifaceted flavors, a fancy tearoom is not your best alternative. Go to a tea tasting event, or learn from a friend and then prepare the tea at home. I have found that, while the fancy tearooms excel in ambience most times, they range from so-so to just awful when it comes to preparing the tea. In addition, their tea selections tend to be limited and often are mostly tea leaves with so much other stuff (fruits, flower petals, spices, etc.) added that the tea flavor is smothered. Some tearooms don’t deserve the name (as discussed here) since they are basically just cute little cafés that serve a selection of bagged stuff (the more well-known teas plus a bunch of herbals).

Bottom Line

Yes, once again I am going to say the choice is yours. This Tea Princess has decided to stay home for tea (until the next time we’re near a Betty’s Café, that is) unless invited to one of those special events where I  promise to keep my mouth shut when the tea gets oversteeped. Cheers!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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