Update: Botanical Tea Room stopped offering afternoon tea in fall 2023.
Where: 5350 Hackmann Road, Augusta, Missouri 63332
Style: Traditional afternoon tea with a botanical twist
Tea Selection: Broad variety of fine, sustainable teas; changing with the seasons
Teatimes: Saturday 12 to 3 pm; Varying dates for private parties of 12 or more
Reservations: Book in advance or take your chance! Reservations recommended
Cost: $29+ Afternoon Tea (Optional add-ons, i.e., champagne); $50 Prêt-à-por·tea for Two (to-go)
[Photo Credits: All photos provided by the Botanical Tea Room.]
Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our Missouri afternoon tea directory for the latest details.
You Are Cordially Invited to A Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea, Fit for a Queen
During the month of June 2022, The Botanical Tea Room, in harmony with the Commonwealth, will celebrate The Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth ll. The Botanical Tea Room’s founder Penelope Woodhouse — being of British origin — is thrilled to offer a proper English afternoon tea experience to mark the historic 70th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II.
The Botanical Tea Room is steeped in history, in the historic town of Augusta, Missouri. The quaint, tiny town of less than 200 residents has many properties on the National Registry. In fact, Augusta has a notable historic designation as being the first Federally Registered Wine Region in the USA (AVA). It is also home of the Katy Trail and Missouri River, two other major tourism landmarks. Augusta, with its winding roads and lush rolling hills, looks much like the English countryside.
The Botanical Tea Room first opened its doors in 2014, on a 76-acre culinary herb farm in rural Missouri, moving in 2019 to Augusta (close to St. Louis), to create greater visitor access. Penelope’s culinary style is “botanical-garden-to-plate”! She grows edible flowers, culinary herbs, herbal teas – and other ingredients for the menu. Not only has she cooked her way through every afternoon tea book she could find, to learn about this iconic British celebration of food, she also teaches teatime workshops at her local community college, and plans to produce a Botanical Teatime Cookbook in the near future. Her earth-friendly intentions also include the aim of operating sustainably with close to zero waste.
The Tea Room
In the Botanical Tea Room, with its tempo of calm and an ambiance of poised charm, tea takers enjoy a graceful afternoon tea experience reminiscent of the past. Penelope loves bringing people together to celebrate their special friendships and special occasions. The historic property with its museum-style environment captures the sense of place and sets the stage for a “living history” experience. Penelope’s learned skills, both as a Tea Sommelier and Certified Heritage and Culture Interpreter, facilitate her sharing of stories with guests about the Tea Room’s important place in culinary history.
Inside the tea room, glass cases filled with fine china and the stories of when they were made and how they might have been used invite guests to explore the history of these beautiful pieces, which Penelope has received as gifts or collected from estate sales.
One of the most enjoyable features of the tea room is the ever rotating display of teatime artworks, re-purposed and upcycled with vintage flair. Visitors leave with lots of photos for their own inspired and creative intentions.
Traditional Afternoon Tea with a Botanical Twist is Penelope’s signature culinary menu. All foods served are botanically infused and aromatic, from the homegrown cucumbers to fragrant lavender, rose petals, and tiny flower pot edible arrangements.
This special occasion menu is one of ritual and ceremonial style reminiscent of the past. Teatime here features crisp white linen tablecloths and napkins, vintage English china, authentic teatime equipage, and the quintessential accoutrement — the 3-tiered serving stand — is the center-pièce de résistance.
The delicate afternoon tea menu is crafted onsite with care, using local, native and sustainably sourced ingredients. The property’s culinary herb farm, vegetable garden, vineyard and hens imbue the tea room’s sustainable ideals and menu. However, a few necessary and iconic essentials are imported from England to ensure a proper afternoon tea, such as lemon curd from TipTree, proud holders of a Royal Warrant from the reigning monarch since 1911.
Penelope’s personal and creative menu standards for her afternoon tea, which she has been perfecting for nearly ten years — by seeking recipes that meet her criteria for “good food” — include:
- Uses high quality food ingredients that are not excessively indulgent,
- Can be enjoyably prepared in a home or professional kitchen,
- Is pleasing visually and well received by visitors,
- Has an interesting story to tell (see why below),
- Comes from good, fair and clean resources.
In today’s abundant society, one of the visitor learning curves is the nature of a fixed menu. Traditional afternoon tea is a three-course meal (tea sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, tea cakes…served with a pot of tea). To make the teatime experience more memorable and enjoyable, the Botanical Tea Room created what they call a “menu book,” that serves as a visual guide of the menu, while capturing the history and culture of the food served. Some of the tearoom’s recipes date back to the 1800s, while others are from notable literature, royal tables and English films. What a gift to help afternoon tea newcomers familiarize themselves with the culinary roots of afternoon tea!
One of the most important elements of a traditional afternoon tea — scones — are made here with a nod to the wine region that is home to the tea room. The tea room’s popular scone is called the “Augusta’s Talk of the Town,” which features a variety of dried grapes and a historic scone recipe.
Penelope says that she reaches her zero waste aim as there is usually nothing left on the plate…always a great indication that she has succeeded in delivering a delicious experience. Also, she is often asked for her recipes, but that will have to wait until her cookbook is released!
To create their madeleines (a popular classic French tea cake), the tea room uses organic rose water, sometimes dipping them in fairly-traded cacao, and sprinkling with a variety of nut choices.
To reserve your afternoon tea time at the Botanical Tea Garden, call 314-629-1571.
[Note: This is a sponsored blog post.]