Where to Find the Best Afternoon Tea in Rhode Island
Here's where you can catch up with friends over a cup of the warm and comforting brew.
Afternoon tea awaits.
Brush up on your tea verbiage: Whether you want to impress your buddies or channel your inner Mad Hatter, knowing the difference between green tea, black tea and herbal tonics will set aside any confusion you might face when choosing your preferred beverage. The snacks you pair are also a crucial consideration, one that staff from these local establishments can easily help you make.
Val’s English Tea and Pie Shop
A full afternoon tea at Val’s English Tea and Pie Shop grants you five different courses, all served on tiered plates, along with bottomless tea served in individual pots. Sample a little bit of everything, including four types of crustless finger sandwiches; two types of warm scones slathered with jam, butter or imported clotted cream; sweet and savory pastries; and a cream dessert. The owners are Jon and Sharon Thompson. Sharon, who is English, has decades of experience in hosting and enjoying afternoon teas in both England and the United States. The shop offers gentle advice on table manners and etiquette for the younger tea enthusiasts. The baked goods are made in-house daily, with popular options like white chocolate chip scones and sausage and apricot pies. You can also buy them to enjoy at home. Val’s tea collection, featuring all English brands, contains more than a dozen tempting choices. Among the wide selection are customer favorites like Earl Grey, black English and blackcurrant, which is packed with vitamin C. If you need a break from the hot tea, mimosas filled with orange juice and some bubbly bring a different vibe to the afternoon. Have a special celebration coming up? Val’s also hosts showers and private events for up to thirty-six guests.
Hours: Thurs.–Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; reservations are required.
The Details: 466 Putnam Pike, Greenville, 618-5537, valsenglishteashop.com
Drink a soothing cup of green, black or white tea (the white coconut creme is a personal favorite) at this minimalist creperie and tearoom. Tea blends like masala chai, lychee peach and green pear — Schasteâ carries more than sixty premium loose-leaf teas sourced from all over the globe — are crafted in-house, and are best enjoyed with one of their crepes. Consider ordering both a savory and sweet one, like the fig and prosciutto paired with a brown sugar or Cajeta crepe with Mexican caramel and toasted almonds. Non-crepe options are up for grabs as well, including the tea-infused baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, cocktails and specialty drinks.
You can also catch the cafe’s signature blends, coffee and espresso at the craft beverage bar in the Hope & Main Down-town Makers Marketplace, located at 100 Westminster St., Providence.
Hours: Open daily 8 a.m.–3 p.m.; marketplace hours Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
The Details: 300 Broadway, Providence, 432-7202, schastea.com
This cafe and tea house has one goal — to bring customers a unique drinking experience. Ceremony offers tea lattes from its cafe side, mocktails and tea-infused cocktails in the bar area and traditional Chinese tea ceremonies in its private tearoom. There are plenty of tasty treats for guests to enjoy, like a selection of handmade Taiwanese pastries, Japanese snacks and local baked goods. Look out for Ceremony’s handmade onigiri, a rice ball stuffed with savory Japanese fillings, and beef and vegetarian gimbap, a seaweed rice roll made with dried seaweed (gim) and rice (bap), on Saturdays.
Matcha lattes, hojicha lattes and premium hot teas by the pot or cup are especially hot sellers, as are caffeine-free ube lattes, black sesame lattes, lavender yuzu lemonade and goguma lattes.
Tea ceremonies are by appointment only. The crew at Ceremony recommends tea connoisseurs book a tea ceremony tasting with the shop’s tea specialist, especially those who are tea novices.
HOURS: Cafe and bar hours are Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m.
–6:30 p.m. Reservations are required for tea ceremonies and tastings.
the details: 406 Brook St., Providence, ceremonypvd.com
Afternoon Tea at Hotel Viking
This is the spot for after-lunch and before-dinner shenanigans. Choose from the five tea varieties the Hotel Viking’s afternoon tea service provides, including the Smith Tea brand for all the loose-leaf and bagged teas. Tea offerings often rotate, but if your preferred flavors include Lord Bergamot, British Brunch and Peppermint Leaves, you’re in luck as these teas are almost always in stock, especially during the colder months.
Like the teas, the snack menu is ever-changing depending on the time of year. Expect to find two to three savory sandwich choices to share with your party, in addition to petit fours and scones for dessert. Pair the decadent treats with a variety of jams, clotted cream and lemon curd. For an additional charge, order some sparkling wine for an extra-special treat.
Hours: Sat. and Sun. 2:30–4:30 p.m. Reserve on the website or on resy.com.
The Details: $49 per person. The Garden Room at Hotel Viking, 1 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 847-3300, hotelviking.com
The Vanderbilt’s Sailor’s Tea Hour features a menu full of herbal, black and green teas with savory bites, pastries and sweets as humble companions. Besides ordering this match made in heaven — Earl Grey lavender tea and housemade scones — it would be a crime not to get the famed and delicious Color of the Year herbal tea, containing butterfly pea flower, rose, lemongrass and lemon verbena.
Down for a dinner party? Through June 30, the Vanderbilt is partnering with New York City’s cocktail and oyster bar, Maison Premiere, to create Upstairs/Downstairs: A Gilded Age Dinner Party private dining experience. You’ll enjoy cocktails inside the Parlour, followed by a nine-course dinner in the Mezzanine with a menu including fresh oysters, Beluga caviar, roast lamb Wellington and baked Alaska.
Hours: Sailor’s Tea Hour is daily 2–4 p.m., $50 per person. The Gilded Age Dinner Party is through June 30, $500 per person. Call for more info or to reserve a table for the Sailor’s Tea Hour or the Gilded Age Dinner Party.
The Details: In the Conservatory at the Vanderbilt, 41 Mary St., Newport, 846-6200, aubergeresorts.com/vanderbilt/dine
Sweet Marie’s Tea Cottage
If you’re a huge fan of black tea, this place is for you — this tea cottage’s prix fixe menu includes bottomless black tea. A variety of green, white and herbal teas are also offered, with the hibiscus tea being a certified crowd favorite. Come hungry: Snacks include finger sandwiches, dainty petit fours, scones, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, cookie dough truffles and prosciutto canapes. On the cooler side, the hibiscus iced tea and homemade lemonade offer a more refreshing take on the afternoon. Sweet Marie’s cocktail, mocktail and wine list also pairs smoothly with the menu (the blackberry basil spritz, served either as a cocktail or mocktail, is an excellent option for bold adventurers).
Hours: Thurs.–Sun. seatings at noon and 2 p.m. by reservation only. Book at least a week in advance for weekends and holidays.
The Details: $32 per person. 25 West Main St., North Kingstown, sweetmariestea.com
A reservation at Trinity Confections calls for the full-course high tea menu, made from scratch using time-tested family recipes. Quiche with fruit and homemade soup are some of the many gems on the menu, while the tea tray overflows with canapes and tea sandwiches, biscuits, cupcakes, scones with cream and jam, adorable Linzer cookies and French truffles.
Hours: High tea service hours (reservation only, at least one week in advance) are Fri.–Sun. noon–3 p.m.
The Details: $28 per person. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available — make the request via reservation. 1625 Warwick Ave., Warwick, 681-4902, trinityconfectionstea.com