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 in January (or any month, really), 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.
15 Oakland Ave, Warwick
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: It serves the Hudson Valley’s popular Harney & Sons tea.
Favorite trends: Graney hates to see customers trying to eat finger food with utensils! According to Charlotte’s School of Etiquette, no cutting scones with a knife. They’re bite-sized for a reason!
Groups and parties: Charlotte’s hosts bridal showers and birthday parties and caters as well.
69 Gleneida Ave, Carmel
What to expect: Florrie Kaye’s is an extremely welcoming Victorian tea shop staffed by family and friends with a love for tea. It serves loose teas from all over the world, including India, Africa, China, and Japan. Expect classic tea sandwiches that vary daily, like the signature coronation chicken salad on zucchini nut bread, plus scones, jam and cream, miniature cakes and pastries, and even prosecco.
Specialty consumables: An extensive selection of green, black, herbal, and white teas from Harney & Sons. Owner Gina Aurisicchio has “personally admired” the quality of Millerton-based Harney & Sons loose tea for years and loves supporting the local brand.
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 dressing options.”
Groups and parties: Florrie Kaye’s is a popular venue for bridal and baby showers, as well as for birthday parties and anniversaries. Throughout the year, it hosts a happy hour with a discounted food and drink menu on Tuesdays through Fridays from 3-5:30 p.m.
13 Main St, Millerton
What to expect: No Hudson Valley tea tour is complete without a trip to the OG. In fact, Harney & Sons teas are what many of the region’s tea rooms choose to serve in their pots. A longtime local favorite, Harney is known for its beautiful, flavorful teas sourced from across the globe. In Millerton, the tasting bar and lounge stocks 250 varietals to pair with an elegant brunch or lunch.
Specialty consumables: Expect all the brand’s signature sips, including Elyse’s Blend, Hot Cinnamon Spice, Tower of London, and more. They’re just the thing to wash down smoked salmon sandwiches or salads tossed with curry yogurt vinaigrette and tea-soaked currants.
Favorite trends: While Harney’s black teas are understandably popular, its fermented pu-erhs are like the champagnes of the tea world. Try any of its sips in this range for a cup of nuanced flavor.
Groups and parties: The Millerton space is cozy and quaint, making it a dream for afternoon dates and classy brunches with friends in eastern Dutchess County.
235 Main St, White Plains
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 from Asia and Africa, and all are carefully curated by its in-house tea specialists. The eatery also serves finger foods, coffee, lattes, and even wine and beer for anyone craving something stronger.
Specialty consumables: A section of the menu dedicated to signature teas boasts unique mixtures like Imperial Iron Goddess Oolong and Organic Jasmine Pearl. Plus, Hastings Tea also serves matcha green tea lattes.
Favorite trends: Co-owner Joan Jia says, “People are very health conscious nowadays. Tea offers many health benefits [and] customers love the taste of our products with all the health benefits, no preservatives [and] no artificial flavor or colors.”
Groups and parties: Hastings Tea often opens its doors to local community events, book launches, and live music performances. Keep an eye out for cold drink happy hours during the summer as well.
979 Main St, Peekskill
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 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. The menu changes regularly and features cozy treats like spinach salad with sliced apples and smoked gouda and a decadent shortcake trio with miniature mixed berry, strawberry, and peach melba bites.
Favorite trends: McKenzie encourages her visitors to forgo restricting etiquette and enjoy a less formal tea time.
Groups and parties: Kathleen’s welcomes children’s parties, baby showers, and bridal showers and offers catering in the surrounding region.
View this post on Instagram
7460 S Broadway, Red Hook
What to expect: Part of The Red Hook Country Inn B&B, Maggie’s is a delight for weekend teas in the countryside of Dutchess County.
Specialty consumables: With more than 15 types of tea on rotation, Maggie’s keeps it traditional with china and crystal service. Food is equally top-tier, thanks to a selection of traditional finger sandwiches and Irish scones with clotted cream.
Favorite trends: Tea isn’t the only drink of choice at Maggie’s! Try the Turkish coffee and Brooklyn Egg Creams for an unexpected afternoon treat.
Groups and parties: Maggie’s RoyalTea hosts seatings at its five tables from Friday to Sunday. Because the space is cozy, reservations are strongly suggested.
1736A Western Ave, Albany
What to expect: A sweet tea shop in the Capital Region, Short and Stout began as an online business before moving into its own brick-and-mortar in Albany. It also runs a more shoppable matcha bar and retail storefront inside the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland.
Specialty consumables: With more than 130 loose teas, the shop is a paradise for tea lovers in the Hudson Valley. Pair a matcha with a savory chicken curry puff or a sweet macaron for an ideal afternoon nibble.
Favorite trends: Along with standard cups of hot, iced, and bubble tea, Short and Stout is a go-to for cheese tea, a trendy cold tea identified by its signature top layer of foamed milk, cream cheese, and a dash of salt. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
Groups and parties: Short and Stout often hosts tastings and game nights at its two locations. Follow the shop on Facebook to stay up-to-date on events.
The Tea Experience is a provider of organic whole leaf teas and tea accessories. Woman-owned, The Tea Experienced was founded in 2007 as Lola’s Teas House in Mt. Vernon New York. The Tea Experience offers over 30 different varieties of loose teas, specially packaged and delivered directly to your front door. Try any of our loose-leaf blends and you will not be disappointed! Visit our website and place your order today! Try our new flavor, “chocolate dipped strawberry tea” and receive 10% off the purchase of 4oz or more. Coupon code: 10sdc http://ow.ly/vVod50lDDwh . . . #blackowned #womanowned #supportblackbusiness #ilovetea #treatyourself #SimpliciTEA #theteaexperienceny #teaforlife #selfcare #strawberry #chocolate #teatime
What to expect: Not actually a tea room, The Tea Experience is a full-service tea party catering business. It can either help host or cater a private tea party in your home or another location. Its selection of more than 30 loose teas is sourced from wholesale blenders and 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 a handful of popular tisanes, liek Toasty Almond with apple, almonds, cinnamon, and beetroot.
Favorite Trends: “Tea cocktails, mocktails, and tea tastings,” says Allicks.
2600 South Rd, Poughkeepsie
What to expect: Tea Talk features more than 100 loose teas, teabags, and satchets, as well as more than 35 flavors of bubble tea that can be further customized with assorted tea bases and flavored boba.
Specialty consumables: In addition to specialty tea lattes and lemonades, Tea Talk serves a Super Tea Smoothie powered with kale, green matcha, banana, honeydew, ginger root, almond milk, and honey or agave nectar.
Favorite trends: Tea Talk crafts themed teas around movies and TV shows. It recently served an Avengers menu and offers Disney, Pokémon, and Sailor Moon sips as well. The Snow White, for instance, pairs a Florence tea base with vanilla and almond milks and strawberry hearts.
Groups and parties: Tea Talk hosts events, parties, performances, and workshops throughout the year. It’s located inside the recently renovated Poughkeepsie Plaza, making it a top spot for a refreshing sip during an afternoon of shopping.