Destination Tea: Tea House Formosa

Where:  BuHi, Atlanta, GA
Style:  Modern
Tea Selection:  24 loose-leaf teas
Teatimes:  Saturday-Sunday 2-5
Reservations:  Walk-ins only
Contact:  470-349-8105
Cost:  $23.95 Afternoon Tea Set
Destination Tea Tips:  Though weekends see a steady business and Tea House Formosa does not take afternoon tea reservations, we had no trouble finding seats for the seven of us. Also, Tea House Formosa suggests sharing one afternoon tea set, which you will order at the counter. We split two afternoon tea sets amongst three friends and had leftovers to take home.

Destination Tea Notes:  Tea House Formosa takes its name from Taiwan’s older moniker:  “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island), bestowed by 16th-century Portuguese explorers. We found it deserving of the name, both because it is a beautiful space with its modern interior of smooth lines and warm wood tones, and because we were treated to renowned Taiwanese teas and fare. The one difficulty is choosing your tea because there are too many interesting options, from pots of hot tea to salted butter cream-topped tea, from monthly flavored teas to tea floats (yes, with ice cream) and teas con panna (yes, with whipped cream topper). In the end, we went the traditional route with hot pots of tea, but couldn’t resist going back to the counter to order a couple specialty teas to pass around for sampling.

Upon entering, give yourself time to peruse the menu’s tea choices before approaching the counter to order your afternoon tea set. You may want to take a menu to your table, and go to the counter to order once you have strategized your tea selection. We found our hosts to be very helpful, happy to answer our questions and make recommendations.
Servers bring out your order, but you can return to this counter to have your teapot refilled with hot water.

Tea Service

Each afternoon tea set comes with one hot pot of tea with one re-steep. We chose the Dong Ding oolong tea and Rose of the Orient green tea.
This is only the list for pots of tea! A la carte teas include signature base teas (black, green, oolong and TieGuanYin), flavor teas (flavored with infused simple syrup), milk teas (with creamer), latteas (with milk), tea con panna (with whipped cream topper), butter creamers (with salted butter cream) and tea floats (with vanilla ice cream). Try your best to choose!
Tea is served in ceramic pots and cups, loose leaf tea steeping in sachet. Your afternoon tea set comes with one refill.
We couldn’t resist, we ordered a butter creamer TieGuanYin tea – very rich, but tasty. Thankfully we shared it around the table so that one person didn’t have to take on this lavishness alone.
For flavored monthly teas, you can choose your level of sweetness, but cannot go sugar-free because the syrups are infused with the seasonal flavors. I selected 25% and it was just right and heavenly scented. Warning:  these you may not want to share.

Scones, Savories and Sweets

Servers deliver bamboo stacked baskets for the grand reveal.
If you view this afternoon tea in the traditional sense – as a mid-afternoon snack rather than the robust meal that would be a high tea — then this would certainly feed two. 
The first basket includes a Taiwanese egg and cheese sandwich with ham, savory egg tart (a bit chewy), raspberry green tea mini muffin, strawberry and kiwi sandwich and three cookies: black tea, TieGuanYin and parmesan spice (loved this one). The sandwich bread is like that baked by nearby Korean bakeries, sweeter than a traditional American white bread.
The second basket’s savory scallion scone, which while not served hot and soft, has great flavor. Tea House Formosa’s dessert offering includes oolong tea cake roll, black tea banana cake, TieGuanYin madeleine cookie, Taiwanese TieGuanYin macaroon and oolong white chocolate tart with blueberries. Favorites differ around our table, but the one thing we agree upon is that we appreciate that all these desserts are tea-infused.
If you are looking for more savories and less sweet in your meal, why not order one afternoon tea set and a couple of à la carte snacks from the menu? For example, the hand-cut sweet potato fries are not to be missed.

 

Florida Is for [Afternoon Tea] Lovers

Whew and wowza! Floridians, it would seem, love their afternoon tea. After researching and reaching out to Florida’s dozens of afternoon tea venues (past and present), we are ready to serve up Destination Tea’s new Florida afternoon tea directory, fresh from the oven. With more than 65 afternoon tea venues, this state is boasting double or triple the number of destination tea possibilities, compared to its neighbors. One thing is certain. High temperatures do not stand in the way of the afternoon tea-goer. Hear, hear!

Photo courtesy of Tea World Cafe and Tea Room in Titusville, FL.

Florida’s afternoon tea venues are as diverse as its population, including upscale hotels, museum cafes and Japanese gardens, historic homes and B&B’s, bakeries, teahouses, tearooms, restaurants, a quilt shop and a mega resort (bet you can guess which). Uniquely, you will also find two tea rooms that — harkening back to a custom from the early 1900s — host their afternoon teas as a means of raising funds for a charity. Love this.

Photo courtesy of Vizcaya Museum’s Cafe & Shop, where tea is served on the terrace, in Miami, FL.

Whether you are a Floridian or an incoming tourist, we’re thinking no spring or summer break is complete without at least one destination tea in the itinerary. In service of this important goal, we hope you find the new directory a useful tool, and welcome any feedback. Happy afternoon tea travels!

North Carolina Afternoon Tea Directory Out Today!

My grandfather often reminded me to do what I love, and so he must be smiling down on me today, because I am loving this work! After chatting with the hosts and hostesses of afternoon tea in North Carolina to build Destination Tea’s latest directory, I am learning…

Afternoon tea happens in all kinds of lovely places. In addition to North Carolina’s tearooms and hotels, tea-goers can reserve tea parties in an outdoor garden, book shop or bakery. Don’t be put off by venues that open purely for private parties, because in many cases parties of two or four are welcome.

Herbal Accents’ dining patio for garden tea parties in Mocksville, NC

The Northerners’ “luncheonette” or “mom-and-pop” is the Southerners’ “tea room”…sometimes. Having done my homework about the evolution of the American tea room, I knew I’d have to discover which sort of tearoom a venue was. It was worth the effort because my calls turned up several luncheonette-tearooms who also homemake a lovely afternoon tea for private parties.

Some venues only host afternoon tea as a special event. I am on the lookout for afternoon teas that only happen a couple times a year, usually around holidays or to celebrate a theme. You can find these in the state directories (details in the “Times” column), and receive notices about them by following Destination Tea on Facebook.

Inns and B&Bs want afternoon-tea-goers to understand that their afternoon tea service is exclusively for their overnight guests. (**Exception: for B&Bs/inns with restaurants that offer afternoon tea to the general public, prices and reservation details are listed in our directories**)Apparently when some of us afternoon tea lovers find out that a nearby B&B has an afternoon tea service, we want in, sometimes to the chagrin of the proprietor who has to turn us away. For our part, we hope Destination Tea’s directories may ease this issue by helping you plan ahead:  either to stay at a B&B or inn that offers afternoon tea, or to find your destination tea at another venue in the vicinity. The end goal is to make sure that wherever you travel, you don’t miss out on a nearby afternoon teatime!