Destination Tea: The Old Mill English Tea Room

Where: Somers, Connecticut
Style:  1860s Greek Revival
Tea Selection:  6 loose leaf teas, 2 fresh brewed iced teas, 1 flowering green tea by Teabloom
Teatimes:  Thursday to Saturday 11 to 4 (last seating at 3)
Reservations: Reservations required
Contact: 860-999-1399
Cost: $17.50 Tiered Platter ($35 for 2); $10 Little Lords and Ladies
Destination Tea Tips: The Old Mill’s à la carte lunch menu makes it perfect for inviting heartier appetites to join you at the afternoon tea table. You may also want to leave time to take group photos in the teahouse’s beautiful backyard gardens, or to explore the Somersville Historic District, where the remnants of a thriving 19th century textile mill complex overlook the Scantic River.

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

afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room

Destination Tea Notes: American tearooms frequently pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II; Her Majesty having been the symbol of regal British culture for multiple generations, in fact, for many of us, for all our lives. As the world says goodbye to Her Majesty, her presence remains today (in this very post, if you look closely), and we expect for many generations to come. When an American tearoom features a “Queen’s Menu,” “Queen’s Room,” or displays the Queen’s likeness, you might expect they refer to Queen Victoria, during whose reign afternoon tea began. Not so. It is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who is most often honored by tearoom owners across the United States when friends gather for the refined British tradition of afternoon tea.

At The Old Mill English Tea Room, “The Queen” is also owner Nancy Knorr’s nickname for her Aunt Doris, to whom she has dedicated a room, to honor their shared dream of opening a tearoom. Nancy has taken great care in renovating the 19th century home to make it feel like a true English teahouse, decorating with British royalty mementos, crystal chandeliers, Queen Anne furniture and curios displaying English bone china. Nancy’s lifelong career in show biz is evident here, where every room looks like a stage design team has set the scene. Immaculate and elegant table settings reveal Nancy’s flair for design and attention to every detail. Daughter Heather serves our table with Pam, the two making sure we have everything we need throughout the meal, for a relaxing, charming teatime.

Loving the wallpaper in the front hall, where a floral garland trails down the staircase bannister.

tea hat try-ons at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room
First stop upon entering is to the front left room, where those of us who need that something special to complete our afternoon tea look have fun exploring a trunk of tea hats.
finding the right look at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room
We like the creative touch of découpaging tea hat fashions inside the lid of the trunk, beneath a long antique mirror that allows cousins to try on hats together.
dining table at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room
This elegant dining room setting follows the early American tearoom custom of serving patrons out of one’s home.
the Queen at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room
Proper reading material
main tearoom at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room
Beyond this main tearoom is an outdoor patio where one may take tea al fresco, beneath the shade of umbrellas.
set for afternoon tea at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
We were escorted to the private dining room (which also has a business center tucked into the closets, at the ready for business luncheons – more evidence that Nancy tends to every detail).

Tea Selection

pouring the tea at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
Tea choices are separately priced, and we sample all the offerings: iced tea, blooming tea, and hot loose leaf teas.
Bangkok green Thai tea at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
We LOVE the Bangkok tea, a light, aromatic green blend with lemongrass, vanilla, coconut and ginger.
Chai tea at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
We also try the Chai, infused with cinnamon, closes and other warming spices, perfectly paired with this autumn-themed teapot.
blooming tea at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
Green tea leaves open to reveal edible flowers in this blooming tea.
iced peach tea at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
The Peach Iced Tea is a refreshing delight.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

We add the homemade soups to our tea meal, including a Butternut Bisque and the soup du jour: the Tuscan Mill is a light potato soup with cream, spinach, sausage and bacon.

burrata salad at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
Wisely, we also sample the yummy Tomato Burrata salad, with garlic aioli and balsamic drizzle.
tiered tray at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
The tea trays arrive with dishes of spreads for our scones.
tea sandwiches
Each guest is offered four finger sandwiches that are perfectly portioned and tasty: cream cheese with olive and cress, chicken salad, ham salad, and egg salad. Ham salad is one of those spreads that can divide the room, but this may be the best one we’ve tried yet.
scones and desserts at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
After scones, dessert includes a petit four, chocolate dipped strawberry and fresh fruit.
broccoli quiche at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
We also share a slice of the Broccoli Cheddar quiche, which comes with a side salad.
Figgy Melt at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
One of our teen reviewers feels she needs the heartier Figgy Melt: a grilled brie sandwich with fig jam butter, caramelized onion and apple.
crepes at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
Another teahouse special: “Mum-Mum’s Crepes” (a family recipe), pictured here – The Tudor, filled with sweetened mascarpone and lemon curd, and topped with whipped cream and raspberry drizzle.
tea necklaces at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
Teapot and teacup necklaces are for sale in the front room by the tea hat collection.
gardens at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
What a gorgeous sight greets you as you pull into the back parking lot.
gazebo at afternoon tea at The Old Mill English Tea Room in Somers, CT
Nancy created these gardens herself, creating a gorgeous backdrop for romantic group photos.
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing so many of the tea houses. The Old Mill English Tearoom is so delightful!!! Loved all the pictures and tea food experiments they served!!!!!! I really enjoyed it all!!!

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