Destination Tea: Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in Boston Harbor Hotel

Where: Boston, Massachusetts
Style:  Traditional
Tea Selection:  9 loose leaf teas by Palais des Thés
Teatimes:  Daily, 2:30-4:30
Reservations:  24-hour notice
Contact: 617-856-7744
Cost:  $60 Champagne Tea; $50 Afternoon Tea 
Destination Tea Tips:  Find Rowes Wharf Sea Grille either by traversing the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel, or through the harbor-facing entrance of the hotel, via the waterfront boardwalk.

entry Boston Harbor Hotel

Destination Tea Notes:  Afternoon tea is done very well at Boston Harbor Hotel’s Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, whose deep ocean blue, cream and wood-toned decor creates an ideal environment for a ladies-and-gentlemen tea. Having arrived early for our teatime, we start on the scenic wharf patio where my husband enjoys a pint of craft beer and a bowl of chowder. We then are led to our prepared table inside the quiet restaurant for a relaxed, scrumptious afternoon tea. You might expect a certain stuffiness at a historic luxury hotel such as this, but rather we find the atmosphere and service to be all the things we like in an upper class establishment:  attentive, refined and gracious.

Harbor-side entrance to Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in Boston, MA
Boston’s HarborWalk leads to this harbor entrance for Rowes Wharf Sea Grille.
View of Boston HarborWalk from Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Loving the view from the outdoor harbor patio
Interior Boston Harbor Hotel
Inside Boston Harbor Hotel, the entrance to Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Tables inside Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Sailboat paintings framed in gold and deep blue overlook navy and ivory houndstooth upholstered chairs. It feels at once masculine and vibrant.

Tea Service

Tea table at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
A sweet touch, rose petals on our tea table
Palais des thes
So much better than a box of assorted chocolates, this Palais des Thés sampler lets us map flavor descriptions to scents to choose our teas
Steeping tea at Boston Harbor Hotel Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Each guest chooses a tea, steeped with boiling water brought to the table, then personally strained. For this model, again we suggest choosing a green or herbal tea which is less likely to turn bitter from over-steeping before you have poured out your entire pot. Or if you choose a black or oolong tea, serve that pot around the table first.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Tea curate at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Strawberry red plates set off our afternoon tea courses and complete a patriotic color scheme for the room.
tea sandwiches at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in Boston, MA
“Savory petit sandwiches” include maple smoked salmon and orange goat cheese bocconcini, deconstructed egg salad, deviled ham, mustard and honey salad on checkerboard bread and smoked turkey, avocado and tomato mini club.
Scones at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
The traditional lemon curd is absent; jarred preserves are offered instead, along with cream for the vanilla bean and black currant scones. Also pictured here are the raspberry meringues, which are so very good!
Dessert course at afternoon tea at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in Boston, MA
Dessert includes lime macaron, blueberry mousse (our favorite), fresh fruit tart and cocoa nib tea cake. We appreciate the thought that went into the aesthetic of this colorful course.

Destination Tea: Taj Boston

Where: Boston, Massachusetts
Style:  Traditional
Tea Selection:  30 loose leaf teas by J’enwey Tea Co.
Teatimes:  Saturday to Sunday, 12:30, 1, 3 or 3:30
Reservations:  Recommended
Contact:  617-598-5255
Cost:  $58 La Reine Royale; $54 Taj Royale; $48 Taj Tea; $38 The Duchess; $20 Children’s Tea
Destination Tea Tips:  Look for the stairs labeled “The Dining Room” to find afternoon tea served in the French and Adams Rooms on the second floor.exterior Taj Boston

Destination Tea Notes:  Ever since its opening in 1927, Taj Boston has served afternoon tea, giving the experience here an air of traditional authenticity. We appreciate the gentleman playing classical guitar as an alternative to the usual hotel pianist. As the window-lit tea rooms fill with guests whose conversation swells above the gentle music, servers efficiently tend to us, and even provide our neighbors with a second round of their favorite tea sandwiches upon request. Of the two tea curates that come in sequence to serve six savories and then scones and desserts, we favor the culinary crafting of the savories and scones, over the dessert course that could be more interestingly delightful. And for we non-teetotalers, a special treat awaits (as an optional add-on), combining two of our favorite things:  tea + cocktails.

stairs to the second floor Taj Boston
Heading up to the tearooms
tearooms at Taj Boston
The wonderful musician, whose music reminds us of Spain
Upholstered furniture at tearooms at Taj Boston
Draped windows create cozy seating areas with plush couches and armchairs.
tea table at Taj Boston
Lamps intimately light tables laid with china and decorated with red roses.

Tea Service

Tea cocktail list at Taj Boston
Tea mixology going on at Taj Boston
tea cocktail at Taj Boston
I go with the Cheshire Cat (Ketel One cucumber & mint vodka, white blueberry tea, simple syrup and lime juice) and find it light, refreshing and the perfect prelude to our city tea.
Carafe of iced tea at Taj Boston
Each guest is invited to choose a pot or carafe of tea. We share a carafe of iced white peach tea, a delicious good-bye to summer.
mint tea at Taj Boston
We finish with a pot of Moroccan mint green tea. Given that guests strain their own teas at the table, you may want to choose herbal or green teas that won’t become bitter from over-brewing before you are ready to serve the entire pot.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Tea sandwich curate at Taj Boston
Several of the just-right sized savories give a nod to this major seaport by featuring seafood.
tea sandwiches at Taj Boston
Classic deviled egg salad and puff pastry with crabmeat are tasty and light.
Tea sandwiches at Taj Boston
Hummus pita with shrimp and kalamata olive and smoked salmon roll-up with cream cheese and caviar (the best!)
Tea sandwiches at Taj Boston
Cucumber sandwich with cream cheese and tomato, and spinach-goat cheese tart – very nice
Scones at Taj Boston
Yummy ginger and coconut scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd are the highlight of this curate. For us, not a one of these desserts is hitting it out of Fenway. More sweet than delicately flavored, desserts include lemon macaron, chocolate truffle, chocolate-covered strawberry, caramel chocolate brownie, black and white cupcake and cookies.

Destination Tea: Jayida Ché Herbal Tea Spot

Where: East Atlanta, Georgia
Style:  Brightly modern
Tea Selection:  50 loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Special afternoon tea events
Reservations:  Advance ticket purchase required
Contact: 404-424-4069 or online
Cost: $25 Afternoon Tea (or $35 for two)
Destination Tea Tips:  You’ll find Jayida Ché Herbal Tea Spot inside the Endulge Cupcake Boutique. Prepare to take home unique tea blends you won’t find elsewhere (and perhaps some gourmet cupcakes too). New seasons will mean new afternoon tea menus to try at Jayida Ché, so keep revisiting our Atlanta afternoon tea directory to keep abreast of upcoming themed tea dates.exterior Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot in East Atlanta

Destination Tea Notes:  We love to see family happily working together, and better yet, towards a worthy goal:  to blend teas that are “tasty to the palate and beneficial for the body.” We enjoyed meeting sweet and smiling aunty-niece duo Aleathia Saleem and Mariyah Sabir, who make their afternoon tea menu from scratch (excepting the dessert course, naturally provided by Endulge Cupcake Boutique, whose space Jayida Ché shares). Truer to the original British custom, this afternoon tea serves a satisfying three courses in moderate portions. While many Jayida Ché teas are herbal tisanes — (meaning the blends don’t use black, green, white or oolong teas from the camellia sinensis tea plant) — hearty tea drinkers (such as ourselves) should not shy away! Indeed, we sample herbal blends with powerfully good flavor, and delight in the tea menu’s seasonal blends, during a leisurely teatime, with just the right amount of attentiveness from Mariyah. It feels good to be in this bright space with high, open ceilings, where multi-generational customers pop in for a spot of tea and conversation. Finally, we couldn’t leave without sampling one more tea from this collection, so we happily ordered a cup of the woman’s health blend, Mama Ché — to go!

counter inside Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot in East Atlanta
At the counter, Aleethia and Mariyah explain how their tea detox kit works.
interior Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot in East Atlanta
Friends gather round IKEA-esque white tables with glossy canary yellow chairs.

Tea Service

Tea selection at Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot
So many unique tea blends! We take longer than usual to make our choices (we are each invited to select one tea and cupcake flavor). We decide to start with herbal Zingy Blast (to satisfy a yearn for lemony flavor) followed by seasonal Pumpkin Chai (a black darjeeling blend served with almond milk).
Pouring tea at Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot
We are given the opportunity confirm our tea choice by smelling a sample brought to the table, which we appreciate. We delight in tasting the whole ingredients that flavor Jayida Ché‘s handcrafted blends.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Tea sandwiches at Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot in East Atlanta
Served on soft white sesame seed encrusted bread, freshly made tea sandwiches include double portions of red pepper hummus with sun-dried tomatoes and cucumber, and curried cranberry apple chicken salad with lettuce and sprouts. Very good!
Scones at Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot in East Atlanta
Freshly baked gluten-free cranberry ginger scones with sweet orange marmalade say “Hello, Autumn!” in the most delicious way.
Cupcakes from Endulge Cupcake Boutique
Endulge Cupcake Boutique does not overpromise:  our sweet potato and chocolate on chocolate cupcakes are just the sweet finish we hoped for, moist, richly flavored, and not overloaded with sugar.