Destination Tea: Ashford Tea Company

Where:  Savannah, Georgia
Style:  Modern
Tea Selection:  5 pre-selected Ashford Tea Company loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Interactive Tea Sunday, 3 pm; Dessert Tea Wednesday to Friday, 12 to 3
Reservations:  Required, ages 10 and up only
Contact: Reserve here or 843-631-6474
Cost: $25 Interactive Tea
Destination Tea Tip:  Street parking is free on Sundays. Leave yourself time to explore all the teas here to pick out a new favorite to take home.

Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our Georgia afternoon tea directory for the latest details.

afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA

Destination Tea Notes: As we have explored the world of tea in the United States, we’ve come to realize that in the nineties, there were very few American tea connoisseurs. Through Destination Tea work, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the rare people who’ve been in the tea business here for thirty years, and if you are ever in Savannah, you can, too. Tea Sommelier and founder Wayne Ashford is hosting his ideal afternoon tea, with an emphasis on appreciating good tea and meaningful conversation. He recognizes that some American communities are among the “unhealthiest in the world,” and so he’s on a mission to encourage tea-drinking as part of every person’s healthy lifestyle. He began his work of “getting tea back into the community” in Indianapolis, where his wife and he opened the first Tea’s Me Cafe, which they have since sold, but still supply with their teas. In addition to Ashford Tea Company’s Signature blends, Wayne also designs teas for Savannah’s The Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center and Indianapolis natural foods grocer Georgetown Market. Traveling abroad and working with tea brokers, Wayne sources teas from Japan, Egypt, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Kenya. He is particularly happy to carry purple tea grown from a camellia sinensis hybrid in Kenya, not only for its unique health properties, but also to celebrate a specialty African produced tea.

When you book a Sunday teatime at Ashford Tea Company, your group is coming for a private tea with Wayne as your host. He first invites you to explore the tea shop, which happily feels a bit like its former self — an art gallery — as local art decorates the space. Wayne has prepared five teas (one iced) and has set out locally sourced bites across two tables in front and back of the shop, all for our little party of two! As he pours for us, Wayne talks with us, and we discover a kind, engaging man full of wisdom he’s gained living a “purposeful journey.” Especially impressive is his ability to draw our 17-year-old reviewer into a philosophical conversation — “How do we find ourselves within everything we have going on?” — and gently drop some gems into her worldview: “It’s the unconscious things we keep doing that we get depressed about.” We left with lightened spirits and insightful thoughts to think upon, as well as some very delicious tea to share back home. Make no mistake, you may come here to learn about tea, but truly, in talking to Wayne, you’ll be learning about life, which tracks perfectly once you know the Ashford Tea Company slogan: “Live life to the tea.”

afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
The former art gallery now features aroma jars and teas amongst the artwork
with Wayne Ashford at afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
Everything is at the ready for our arrival
talking to Wayne Ashford at afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
Time with Wayne is what makes this experience very special.
afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
This afternoon tea migrates to a table in the front of the shop for dessert…and more tea of course!

Tea Selection

afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
We begin with an iced tisane, called ATC Mélange, which is often used to create Wayne’s creation: “Savannah Palmers.” Here we are enjoying it on its own, slightly sweetened, tasting apple, pineapple, sour apple, lemon, red currants and elderberries. It’s like a healthy lemonade mix.
white tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
Next Wayne pours a white tea that he blended especially to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Indianapolis health food grocer where he first began selling his teas. Called GTM’s Renewal, the blend includes China Pai Mu Tan, China Lung Ching, rosebuds, rose petals, lilac mallow blossoms, exotic fruits and jasmine.
green tea at afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
We like that Wayne sets out little glass dishes so you can see and smell all the real botanicals and whole leaves that go into Ashford Tea Company teas. A vegetarian who is all about clean eating, he also introduces us to his favorite sweetener, Dolcedi, a liquid fructose derived from concentrated organic apple juice.
teas at afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
At the front table, we try three more teas (from right to left): Canadian Maple green tea blended with walnuts and maple syrup, which we LOVE and must take home, Signature Dragon Mariposa oolong tea blended with black currant, orange peel, rose hips, blueberries, butterfly pea flower and cornflower, and Wayne’s favorite black tea (he wanted the smoothest one): Sundanese, an organic Indonesian black tea, which had a slightly honeyed flavor, no sweetener necessary.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

tea sandwiches at afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
Served on bamboo plates, the savory course is two tasty open-faced sandwiches on herb naan bread, a chicken breast cucumber sandwich with feta, carrots and hummus.
afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
We perk up at the sight of homemade lemon curd that comes from the local baker who created soft cranberry orange scones.
desserts at afternoon tea at Ashford Tea Company in Savannah, GA
Fresh-baked desserts are not too sweet, and plentiful (spread across both tables), but even though the strawberry cakes look very fun, we’d like to direct your attention to the red velvet mini cupcakes which were perfectly moist and divinely frosted.
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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