Destination Tea: Jessa’s Tea Parlor

Where:  Woodstock, GA
Style:  Artsy Parlor
Tea Selection:  20+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Tuesday-Saturday 11-5
Reservations:  24-hour notice
Contact:  404-554-7966
Cost:  $22 Classy Miss Sassy; $20 The Southern Charm; $18 The English Lady; $12 Light Afternoon Tea; $12 Princess Tea; $10 Cream Tea – sample menus here
Destination Tea Tip:  Look for suite 101 to find Jessa’s. Follow Destination Tea on Facebook to learn about upcoming holiday teas and dinners. Jessa's Tea Parlor exterior

Destination Tea Notes:  When a mother-daughter team with years of catering experience opens a tea parlor, you know you are in for a treat. Newly opened this fall, Jessa’s Tea Parlor is becoming a popular lunch spot with ladies and gentlemen alike, which hostess Jessa James attributes to the parlor’s hearty Southern fare. To afternoon tea-goers:  come hungry and pace yourself, because you will want to taste everything from start to delicious finish. Jessa and mom Carolyn Lyle whip up a plentiful afternoon tea repast that is homemade from the citrus curd to the salad dressings (which they sell by the gallon). For those who appreciate the creative touches, you’ll spot evidence of Jessa’s artistic side everywhere you look, from refurbished antiques to her handmade decorative cloth napkins, steampunk earrings and tea cups turned pin cushions.

Jessa's Tea Parlor antique furniture, soft colors
Tables in soft and holiday colors
Seated inside Jessa's Tea Parlor
Our brightly lit table, teapot warmers at the ready

Tea Service

Table setting at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Love the creative touches like the condiment spoon with tiny teapot handle, golden utensils and Jessa’s handmade cloth napkin.
Tea pouring at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Jessa welcomes us with a lightly sweetened iced blend of two house favorites: Bourbon Street Vanilla (rooibos) and Earl Grey Cream (black).
Tea lists at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Each guest chooses a pot of tea and may later ask to try another, but we were well satisfied with our first choices: Orange Blossom Estate (oolong), Bourbon Street Vanilla (rooibos) and Earl Grey Cream (black). Thumbs up on the fun flavors in this tea menu.
Tea pot with warmer at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Jessa brings a tea strainer to the table with the pots, so guests may ensure that no stray tea leaves make it into their cups.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Salad and soup at Jessa's Tea Parlor
In addition to the traditional three-tier tray, Jessa’s high tea options include a first course selection that is a meal in and of itself. We chose two from the following: salad with homemade ranch, balsamic or citrus vinaigrette; chicken salad on croissant; soup (creamy vegetable or tomato basil). Each was served with a rosemary cheddar biscuit – mmmm!
Scones with cream and lemon curd at Jessa's Tea Parlor
These were some of my favorite scones yet, moist and served with homemade clotted cream and citrus curd, in three flavors: apple spice, maple pecan and cranberry white chocolate. Mom Carolyn believes a scone should not be a tough dense thing and she certainly won my backing for her stance on scones.
Southern Charm savories at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Between us we ordered two Southern Charm menus and one Classy Miss Sassy. The Southern Charm savories included Momma’s Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese (yum), BBQ Pork Slider (yes!), Citrus Chicken Salad on Croissant and Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie over Cheese and Rosemary Biscuit.
Classy Miss Sassy savories at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Classy Miss Sassy savories included Salmon Cucumber, Chicken Caprese, Bacon Bloom with Avocado and Goat Cheese and Turkey with Cranberry.
Desserts at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Desserts included a Red Velvet Cheesecake, Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Cranberry White Chocolate Cheesecake (very good), Espresso Brownie and Macaron (my favorite).
Jessa's creations for sale
Jessa’s creations for sale
Gifts for sale at Jessa's Tea Parlor
Gifts for your tea-loving family and friends

Thankful for Afternoon Tea

tea sisters at afternoon tea

Afternoon tea lovers have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season:

  1. Family and friends who love going to tea with you, for good times and delicious memories,
  2. Destination Tea’s new Georgia Tea Venue directory, which features more than 30 delicious afternoon tea destinations,
  3. Holiday Teas (check out Destination Tea’s Facebook page for the inside scoop on Atlanta’s holiday teas with reservation details).

And remember, should the holiday bustle leave you without advance reservations, a few afternoon tea venues welcome walk-ins (find which ones under the “To Reserve” column in our directories). For example, the recent update to our Dr. Bombay’s review now includes pics of their walk-in Caroline Tea service.

Happy Afternoon Tea-going!

Destination Tea: Urban Tea

[**Editor’s Note: Urban Tea is now under new ownership with the following changes to the details below:  in place of full afternoon tea, now “Sweet Tea” is offered with scones, desserts and tea during open hours for $12.50 with 24-hour notice requested.**]

Where:  Alpharetta, GA
Style:  Romantic Chic
Tea Selection:  100+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Friday, 12; Saturday, 12 or 2:30
*Private parties may reserve the CommuniTea table anytime during open hours.

Reservations:  24-hour notice
Contact:  678-446-4200
Cost:  $20 Afternoon Tea – sample menu here
Destination Tea Tips:  It IS there! Urban Tea occupies a slender space between the Which Wich? and Robeks stores. Locally-based Certified Tea Specialist and author Lisa Boalt Richardson guest teaches some of Urban Tea’s classes. Follow Destination Tea on Facebook to learn about upcoming events.

Urban Tea exterior

Urban Tea entrance

Destination Tea Notes:  For more than 20 years, hosts Lori and Tom Karras operated two tea houses in Palm Beach, Florida, before relocating to Georgia, bringing their delicious recipes along. The couple has now cleverly integrated an afternoon tea space into their new tea shop in Alpharetta by reserving the back half of the store for a “CommuniTea” table. Sliding French doors seclude the dining area away from the bustle of the shop up front, creating the feel of a dinner party. Afternoon tea is a communal experience if you choose to socialize with your neighbors as pots of pre-selected teas are passed round, while each group of friends has its own sandwich and dessert trays.

Urban Tea CommuniTea Table
Our tea table awaits, graced by glamorous chandelier
Beautiful chandelier over Urban Tea CommuniTea Table
Afternoon tea goers enjoy the intimacy of the CommuniTea table while shoppers pop in for their tea purchases at the front of the store.

Tea Service

Personal stainless steel pots and modern teaware at Urban Tea
Tags tied to stainless steel pots label the pre-selected teas we pass around the table. Servers are diligent about making sure that everyone has their fill of each tea.
Extensive loose leaf tea menu at Urban Tea
For an additional cost, you may choose to sample another of the 113+ loose leaf teas available. We were well pleased with the three proffered teas: Sencha (green), Apple Pie (rooibos) and White Christmas (white).

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

tea sandwiches at Urban Tea
Kudos to Urban Tea for slicing their bread thinly! Sandwiches include cucumber with herbed butter, spinach quiche, tomato cheddar and Helen’s dip (with horseradish) and pineapple jam on toast. Yum!
Tomato basil soup at Urban Tea
A large bowl of tomato basil soup with grated cheddar accompanies the savory platter and we are (rightfully) encouraged to dip our tomato cheese sandwich into the soup. Perfect!
Crostini and cheddar at Urban Tea
English cheddar drizzled with honey is served alongside the savories course. Our hosts check that we are getting enough to eat – YES!
Dessert tray at Urban Tea
A huge chocolate chip scone (more like a cupcake than a biscuit in its consistency) is served with cream and preserves. Desserts include pecan bar, chocolate-dipped strawberry and to the Nothing Bundt Cakes fan’s delight, their miniature carrot bundt cakes with cream cheese frosting (ideal partnership, as the bakery is a plaza neighbor of Urban Tea).
gift corner at Urban Tea
Tea gifts, condiments and home accessories are for sale up front in the store.
Wall of loose leaf teas at Urban Tea
Owner Lori Karras wants you to find a tea you love, and so will encourage you to smell a tea and taste a sample of it, which she brews up on the spot, before you choose one to purchase.