Destination Tea: Tea Leaves and Thyme Tea House

Where:  Downtown Woodstock, GA
Style:  Southern Whimsy
Tea Selection:  50+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Tuesday-Saturday 10-4
Reservations:  Strongly suggested; Walk-ins welcome
Contact:  770-516-2609
Cost:  $22 Queen’s Tea; $21 Children’s Character Tea; $16.50 Classic Afternoon Tea; $13 Light Afternoon Tea; $12 Mad Hatter’s Children’s Tea;  – peruse menus here
Destination Tea Tips:  Seasonal teas and special events are posted on their website. This popular teahouse does book up, so be sure to call ahead to reserve your teatime. Everyone in your party may individually choose whether to order from the lunch menu, a tea menu, or a combination of the two.

Exterior Tea Leaves and Thyme

Destination Tea Notes:  Tea Leaves and Thyme Hostess Kim Jordy has been serving up a homemade afternoon tea repast for more than 18 years, and it shows. In a historic home opposite the railroad tracks, you pass a board in the foyer welcoming reserved tea guests by name, as you make your way to a tea table in the enclosed front porch or one of four rooms with tables tucked around fireplaces. Here, you’ll easily convert your friends and family into afternoon tea lovers, because this experience comes with all the trappings. Gracious, knowledgable servers who are attentive without rushing you? Check. Bottomless pots of quality and flavored teas? Check. Scrumptious, made-from-scratch tea tray goodies? Check. Vintage flair that takes you back in time — from tea cups to tea dresses to antique decor? Check. While afternoon tea can feel like an extravagant treat, it is so reasonably priced here that your wallet won’t think so. Simply, Tea Leaves and Thyme is the quintessential teahouse.

Sunlit enclosed porch
Sunlit enclosed porch
A group of friends held a baby shower in this room while we were at tea
A group of friends held a baby shower in this room while we were at tea.

Tea Service

Our server pointed out the crowd favorite (Snowflake) and her own favorite (Strawberry Cream) from this extensive menu. All our teas were delicious.
Our server pointed out the crowd favorite (Snowflake) and her own favorite (Strawberry Cream) from this extensive menu. Her recommendations and our adventurous choices were all delicious.
Our first pot of many...
Our first pot of many – steeped and filtered in the kitchen, then poured through the antique strainer for ceremonial effect before settled on its warmer

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

The cream of artichoke soup was a seasonal and delicious treat. When we heard this was the soup of the day, we couldn't resist adding it à la carte to our afternoon tea menu.
When we heard cream of artichoke was the soup of the day, we couldn’t resist adding it à la carte to our afternoon tea menu — a wise move on our part.
With the Classic Afternoon Tea, you may select either a Chicken Salad Croissant, Chicken Salad on Lettuce or Sundried Tomato Tartlet (our favorite)
With the Classic Afternoon Tea, you may select either a Chicken Salad Croissant, Chicken Salad on Lettuce or Sundried Tomato Tartlet (a delicious savory-sweet quiche-like concoction).
We enjoyed the fresh grapes in this homemade chicken salad.
Fresh grapes moisten the homemade chicken salad.
Afternoon Tea tray at Tea Leaves and Thyme
“We don’t bake bread” is the simplest way for Kim Jordy to explain that nearly every item on Tea Leaves and Thyme’s menu is made in-house. Fresh fruit accompanies scones served with a whipped almond cream and lemon curd. An edible orchid graces the sandwich tier, which includes classic cucumber mint, pimiento cheese, pineapple cream cheese on raisin, and ham striped sandwiches. The dessert tier treated us to crème de menthe brownies, blueberry muffins with amaretto cream, chocolate chip fruit bars (our favorite) and (luscious) lemon bars.
Watching the trains go by, as we sip from dainty china
Watching the trains go by, as we sip from dainty china
Fun hats and dresses stand by for those inclined to dress the part
Fun hats and dresses stand by for those inclined to dress the part.
You pay your bill inside the gift shop, which is hard to traverse without being tempted to browse, so leave a little extra time to enjoy yourself here.
You pay your bill inside the gift shop, which is hard to traverse without being tempted to browse, so leave a little extra time to enjoy yourself here.

Destination Tea: Vineyard Cafe

Where:  Historic Marietta Square, GA
Style:  Southern Cafe
Tea Selection:  35+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Sunday-Thursday 11-3; Friday-Saturday 11-4
Reservations:  Walk-ins welcome; 24-hour notice for 6 or more guests; Advance reservation for private parties
Contact:  678-581-3771
Cost:  $17.95 Full Tea; $8.95 Dessert Tea – sample menu
Destination Tea Tips:  Look up! Enter via the (separately owned) Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar and Gift Shop and walk to the back of the gift shop to find the stairs to Vineyard Cafe. Request a window seat when you reserve to get the full effect of tea on the square. If parking on the square is full, head to the free public lot on Mill Street between the tracks and North Marietta Parkway, and it’s a short jaunt to Vineyard Cafe. Join their VIP Text Club at 51660 for 10% off purchase.

Vineyard Cafe exterior

Destination Tea Notes:  Having recently come under the ownership of hostess Penny Brand, Vineyard Cafe offers homemade lunch fare with healthy leanings. Though truly, while you are perched in their second floor dining rooms overlooking historic Marietta Square, how can you not complete the picture by enjoying the tradition of afternoon tea? Because they bake onsite, if you are with two or three friends strolling through the square, you can pop in on a whim for your afternoon tea without reservations, or if you are tempted (and voracious), choose to augment your tea with items from their lunch menu. You may also reserve Vineyard Cafe dining rooms during and after business hours for private parties or catch a local production at their new dinner theater.

Request a window seat when you reserve to sip your tea overlooking the square.
A beautiful day for tea on the square

Tea Service

Your server lets you know how long to let your tea steep before you press, and will replenish your hot water for a second serving. If your French press lets some leaves into the cups, wait a moment for them to fall to the bottom, then enjoy!
Your server lets you know how long to let your tea steep before you press, and will replenish your hot water for a second serving. If your French press lets some leaves into your cup, wait a moment for them to fall to the bottom, then enjoy!
Each guest may choose one tea from the list of loose leaf teas. The fitting Southern Pecan was a delight.
Each guest may choose one tea from the list of loose leaf teas. The fitting Southern Pecan black tea is naturally-flavored and fabulous all at once.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

A generous sampling of fresh fruit is accompanied by an optional add-on of homemade soup, which changes seasonally. The flavorful broccoli cheese soup was neither overly salty nor too heavy.
An assortment of fresh fruit is accompanied by an optional add-on of homemade soup, which changes seasonally. The flavorful broccoli cheese soup was neither overly salty nor too heavy.
Each guest receives a half Classic Harvest sandwich -- a delicious turkey club served on walnut raisin bread -- as well as a standout chicken salad croissant.
Each guest receives a half Classic Harvest sandwich — a delicious turkey club served on walnut raisin bread — as well as Vineyard Cafe’s standout chicken salad croissant.
House baked scones and sweets share a plate. Vineyard Cafe's secret recipe honey cream spread perfectly complemented their just-right scones in cranberry-orange, blueberry and cinnamon (our favorite) . Dessert included a cream puff and two homemade cookies that were a nice blend of soft, chewy and sweet. We agreed the cherry almond cupcake earned our top dessert vote.
House baked scones and sweets share a plate. Vineyard Cafe’s secret recipe honey cream spread perfectly complemented their just-right scones in cranberry-orange, blueberry and cinnamon (our favorite) . Dessert included a cream puff and two homemade cookies that were a nice blend of soft, chewy and sweet. We agreed the cherry almond cupcake earned our vote for the afternoon’s top dessert.
Mother-daughter teas are often held in this lovely secret space apart from the two main dining rooms, where dress-up accoutrements await
Mother-daughter teas are often held in this lovely secret space opposite the two main dining rooms, where dress-up accoutrements await.

Destination Tea: ZenTea Tea Room

Where:  Chamblee, GA
Style:  Asian/Modern
Tea Selection:  150+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  High Tea – Daily 11:30-2:30; Mediterranean or Cream Tea Mon-Sat 11-5, Sun 11-4
Reservations:  24-hour notice for High Tea; Walk-ins welcome for Cream or Mediterranean Teas
Contact:  678-547-0877
Cost:  $29 Gluten-Free High Tea; $24 High Tea; $19 Mediterranean Tea; $15 Cream Tea
Destination Tea Tip:  ZenTea has limited seating in the front of the store, but plenty of tables in the back room. After perusing their uber-long tea menu, you may want to come in for a tea tasting to better acquaint yourself with your choices.

ZenTea ExteriorDestination Tea Notes:  Hostess Connie Miller began sourcing and bagging her own line of teas more than ten years ago and her dedication to offering quality, naturally-flavored and organic teas shines at her tea room. ZenTea’s extensive tea selection is the true star of afternoon tea here, and your hosts are gracious and so well versed in the tea choices that finding a tea you’ll love is a snap. Happily, we were each treated to two pots of tea, sampling each other’s choice and receiving our second pots right before dessert was served. Outside of afternoon tea, there are many ways to explore the wonders of ZenTea’s tea menu, including tea spritzers, sample teas of the day, taking your tea hot or iced, matcha lattes (yum) or sidling up to the bar for a reserved tea tasting. While the front cafe with its free Wi-Fi becomes the “remote office” for some regulars and a bright spot for friends to gather, the peaceful loveliness of the meditation room at back provides a soothing backdrop for your afternoon tea conversation or private party.

Our high tea table in the back meditation room
Our high tea table in the back meditation room
Meditation Room ZenTea
Pretty window seat

Tea Service

Cups are contemporary and pots range from traditional to Japanese cast iron
Cups are contemporary and pots range from traditional to Japanese cast iron

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Scones of blueberry and cranberry are served with clotted cream, lemon curd and preserves
Scones of blueberry and cranberry are served with clotted cream, lemon curd and preserves
Sandwiches are pimiento cheese on wheat and chicken salad croissant
Sandwiches are pimiento cheese on wheat and chicken salad croissant
Made just down the street by Maison Robert, the spinach quiche was buttery and perfectly portioned
Made just down the street by Maison Robert, the spinach quiche was buttery and perfectly portioned
Though we were full, the dessert plate was too tempting: our favorite was the homemade coconut cake, nestled amongst a homemade lemon cookie, caramel cake, raspberry sorbet with florentine and chocolate petit four.
Though we were full, the dessert plate was too tempting: our favorite was the homemade coconut cake, nestled amongst a homemade lemon cookie, caramel cake, raspberry sorbet with florentine and chocolate petit four.
A tea wonderland, including all varieties, organic choices, loose leaf and bagged
A tea wonderland, including all varieties, organic choices, loose leaf and bagged, as well as pots, cups and steeping tools for your next tea at home