Taking Tea in Tokyo

The Summer Olympics will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan in 2020 and many travelers will be visiting the city with tea on their minds. If it's a classical afternoon tea they desire, the lobby lounge of the Ritz Carlton offers a sumptuous teatime with an unmatched view. Tokyo Ritz-Carlton Afternoon Tea Lounge I often avoid…

British Tea: A Necessary Luxury

Is there a scene more typical of English life than that of a tea set? Charlotte Bronte captured that archetypal tableau in her 1853 novel Vilette when she describes an English tea and suggests the complex negotiation of social identity that revolved around the ritual of the tea table. “How pleasant it was in its…

Carson’s Guide to Tea at Downton Abbey

No doubt, Carson was well-schooled in the myriad duties entrusted to his care at Downton Abbey. If a question of protocol did arise, he surely had the butler's bible of the day sitting on his desk. Published in London in 1823, The Footman's Directory and Butler's Remembrancer contained the answers to every bit of etiquette minutiae…

Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s Hotel in London

I was delighted to spend a leisurely August afternoon with my writing partner Jane Pettigrew at one of the most stylish of all London hotels—Claridges.  On the way, Soho traffic became so snarled that we had to abandon our cab and walk a few blocks.  Finally, fifteen minutes late and a bit stressed, we were greeted…

Gentleman’s Tea at London’s Athenaeum Hotel

Jane Pettigrew chats with Bruce Richardson over tea at The Athenaeum.I had the opportunity recently to preview the new Gentleman's Afternoon Tea offered at London's 5-star Hotel Athenaeum, located in fashionable Mayfair on Piccadilly across from Green Park. Afternoon tea unfolds here every day in the sunny Garden Room, enclosed on one side by the hotel’s unique ‘Living Wall’ – home to…

Afternoon Tea Reigns Supreme at The Empress

I had the opportunity to return to the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia last month for TeaTime magazine’s Occasion for Tea. The other speakers included Jane Pettigrew, Norwood Pratt, Shelley Richardson, and editor Lorna Reeves. We were joined by 70 devoted tea enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada for a weekend of…

Six Steps to Crafting an Afternoon Tea

Tea at Harrods, LondonI remember my first London afternoon tea at Harrods in 1979. Shelley and I queued nearly 30 minutes while waiting for the velvet rope to drop, allowing access to a three-tiered buffet of sweets that would make a regiment of Horse Guards swoon. The dessert trolleys held row after row of delicious pastries,…

How to Serve Tea for Four or More

Preparing tea for a group comes easy for me because my wife and I owned a tearoom for 14 years. However, I realize this simple task might appear daunting to a tea novice, or even a seasoned host who needs a bit of guidance on the logistics of making tea for four or more. Here…