The top tea shops in Essex
PUBLISHED: 11:27 13 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:25 14 September 2015
Essex Life helps you explore some of the top tea shops and coffee houses in the county - whether you want a traditional afternoon tea, perfect pastries or just a good cup of tea
Le Bouchon Brasserie & Hotel
Essex CM9 4LT
All the cakes, pastries and scones at Le Bouchon are served at their finest by baking everything fresh on the day and using only the best ingredients. Sandwiches are prepared freshly on your arrival too, with a new menu each month. There is a wide selection of Twinings teas and speciality coffees, all served in a relaxed environment.
Special Ingredient: For that extra indulgence, a Luxury Afternoon Tea includes a glass of house Champagne and strawberries.
Down Hall Country House Hotel
Taking tea at Down Hall is truly a luxurious experience and a chance to indulge in the historic splendour of this stunning Italianate mansion that dates back to 1322. Visitors are encouraged to wander through the several acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands to fully appreciate the lovely setting. Afternoon tea at Down Hall is a perfect present for a special occasion or to treat a loved one.
Special Ingredient: Champagne Afternoon Tea, well in such a setting it would seem foolish not to enjoy a glass of bubbly along with the traditional tier of tea-time favourites.
The County Hotel
Afternoon teas at The County Hotel in Chelmsford are great value for money and wonderfully presented. Just £14.25 per person includes a choice of teas or coffee, finger sandwiches, homemade scones with fresh cream and strawberry jam, plus a tempting selection of homemade mini cakes.
The hotel offers gluten and dairy free options too, so you don’t have to miss out.
Special Ingredient: Looking for a present for someone? The hotel can provide personalised vouchers for all occasions.
Strattons’ afternoon tea is the perfect treat. Enjoy a scrummy selection of homemade cakes, scones and sandwiches in relaxed, comfy and funky surroundings. Chill in the art rooms by the fire in winter or sit al fresco in the summer in the Italian garden.
Special Ingredient: Available pre-booked daily from noon to 4.30pm at £15.50pp. Vouchers are available from £31 as a traditional afternoon tea for two.
Lower Barn Cafe
Afternoon tea at Lower Barn Cafe and the peaceful ambience of the beautiful barn café is perfect for any special celebration. Choose from a fine selection of finger sandwiches, freshly-baked fruit scones served with Cornish clotted cream and Tiptree jams, plus a collection of exquisite cakes and fancies (gluten free options also available).
Special Ingredient: Enjoy a pot of tea or coffee from the trained baristas, all served on vintage bone china.
Snape nr Aldeburgh
Situated on the historic frontage of Snape Maltings is the Granary Teashop. This bustling, vibrant tea room uses the best of local produce to offer a delicious menu of light lunches, morning and afternoon teas and homemade cakes and slices as well as an extensive drinks menu.
Special Ingredient: A much loved destination and its relaxed quality makes it a firm favourite for locals and visitors alike.
La Petite Petanque
The Bowling Green Pavilion
This cafe/bistro is set on the bowling green in the Conservation Area of Southend on Sea. A French cafe feel, but good old English service, keep customers coming back for more. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea with homemade scones and cakes and watch a bowls match in summer, or sit and feel mellow and warm your toes by the fire in winter.
Special Ingredient: Whether it’s breakfast, Sunday roast or just coffee and cake, you’ll always find a warm welcome.
Snug cafe is a new and stylish go-to destination in the beautiful countryside of High Easter. Owner, Jo, has researched superb coffee beans, loose-leaf teas and locally-sourced produce. The daily menu includes a full English (using Garnett’s pork farm produce) and freshly-made sandwiches and paninis, all served with the SNUG signature coleslaw and salad. Special Ingredient: The new SNUG full afternoon tea is a real treat with its two-tier cake stand, a choice of teas and soon-to-be served Champagne.
Bygones of Writtle
44 The Green
Sacha (the new proprietor) would like to welcome you to this completely refurbished tea room and garden, where you can enjoy a light lunch, delicious homemade cakes and scones, and, of course, freshly-brewed tea and coffee.
Special Ingredient: Apart from the well-stocked gift shop, there is a new floristry department, offering a selection of plants and flowers for all occasions.
Blackmore Tea rooms
It is thought that the name Blackmore once referred to Black Swamp or Black Marsh during the Middle Ages, when names were more literally meant. These days, the character of this pretty village is clear to see and certainly well worth a visit, whether out cycling, walking or out for a drive. Blackmore Tea Rooms are a perfect refreshment stop and serve traditional loose leafed tea in teapots with old fashioned strainers.
Special Ingredient: Popular illy coffee is served for the non-tea drinkers and there is a good choice of jacket potatoes, paninis and cakes.
The Picture Pot
This charming old-world tearoom and art gallery is full of character and provides a warm and friendly welcome seven-days-a-week. The tearoom is set in the picturesque village of Finchingfield, situated on the village green overlooking the duck pond. The walls are adorned with works of art from a number of local artists. The tearoom serves specialty teas, coffee and cold drinks with a delicious selection of handmade cakes and scones.
Special Ingredient: Allow yourself to be tempted by a Handmade by Hadley’s ice cream or take a picnic rug and enjoy a scrumptious cream tea on the green.
Zoe’s Coffee Shop
9 High Street
At Zoe’s Coffee Shop the focus is on providing quality food served with a smile, using seasonal produce locally sourced where possible. They create not only mouth-watering sandwiches, but have traditional favourites such as sausage rolls, savoury tarts and Scotch eggs on offer as well.
Zoe’s offers a relaxed atmosphere for lunching with friends or having a coffee while watching the world go.
Special Ingredient: Zoe’s Scotch eggs won a Gold Star at the National Great Taste Awards in 2014.
Bosworth’s Tea Room
Bosworth’s is a tea room to suit every taste, right on the green in Finchingfield. This beautiful listed building offers comfortable surroundings, traditional table service and a wide range of the very best food. Why not treat yourself to a Tiptree English Afternoon Tea, with three tiers of delicious cakes, homemade scones with Tiptree preserves and sandwiches?
Special Ingredient: Finchingfield claims to be Britain’s most photographed village — this is your chance to see why.
The Courtyard Tea Room
2/3 Rose and Crown Walk
The Courtyard is a bright and airy tea room in Rose and Crown Walk just off the main square in Saffron Walden. Customers can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of this traditional tea room or on warmer days perhaps, sit outdoors in the sun-trap courtyard. You’ll be spoilt for choice: The Courtyard offers full English breakfast and a range of light lunches.
Special Ingredient: Try the very special Little Scarlet cream teas, with a glass of bubbly if you prefer!
The Star Thaxted
Visit The Star in Thaxted to experience the much-loved English tradition of afternoon tea at its finest — but with a French twist of course. Try the delicious Le Star Cream Tea at £7.50pp or Le Royal Tea at £14.95pp, combined with a selection of the finest teas.
Special Ingredient: All Afternoon Teas are freshly made to order, so reservations are preferable.
Essex Rose Tea House
The Essex Rose Tea House
Dedham village and the pretty countryside that surrounds it provide an ideal place to visit throughout the year, with plenty of walks on offer including a stride across the meadows to Flatford Lock. The Essex Rose is a traditional 16th century timber-framed tea house in the heart of Dedham, close to the Stour Valley and Constable Country.
Special Ingredient: The perfect location for visitors and walkers wanting a mug of hot chocolate, a light lunch or afternoon tea.
Milsoms Hotels & Restaurants
Freshly-baked scones with clotted cream, delicate sandwiches and a delicious selection of cakes coupled with an interesting selection of tea or coffee makes an afternoon treat to remember. You can even add a glass or two of Champagne if you feel like celebrating! Full afternoon tea is available at Maison Talbooth in Dedham, The Pier at Harwich and milsoms Kesgrave Hall from £17.50 per person. Special Ingredient: Relax in the lounges during the winter or outside on the terraces in the summer.
The Shoulder of Mutton
Situated on the leafy banks of the River Colne, the Shoulder of Mutton is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. What could be better than freshly-baked scones with a pot of tea right up to the full vintage three-course extravaganza served on pretty china accompanied with a selection of the finest teas or coffee?
Special Ingredient: Indulge your nostalgic side with a Picnic Tea hamper and rug!
White Horse Lane
01621 855994 Guests can choose from three different afternoon tea experiences at Rivendell Village. The White Room Tea Parlour serves an Old Hollywood Afternoon Tea and is exclusively for guests over 16 years of age. Open Monday to Saturday, from 2.30pm, each afternoon showcases a classic movie, while you select from the menu of loose-leaf afternoon teas, or enjoy award-winning wines, Champagne and stunning cocktails for the ultimate tea experience. There is also The Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea Club, featuring a choice of whisky, brandy or Port and consumed over a game of back gammon or chess
Nanna’s Kitchen serves Nanna’s Afternoon Tea for Adults & Children and is a great place for family and friends of all ages. As proud winners of The Essex Life Food & Drink Awards 2014 Best Family Dining destination, this family-run business prides itself on using the finest quality British produce.
Or try The Play Loft for a Children’s Tea Party. Tumble down the White Rabbit’s hole and land in a birthday wonderland where you can choose from The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party or a Teddy Bears’ Picnic Tea Party.
Special Ingredient: There’s guaranteed to be something for everyone!
6 Market Place
Patisserie Coustance is an award-winning patisserie and café situated in the picturesque market town of Great Dunmow which offers a perfect setting for a delicious breakfast, lunch or tea. The handmade soups, savoury tarts, pies and salads are attracting quite a following — all are made on the premises from locally-sourced ingredients. Add to this the range of seasonal, artisan patisserie and cakes and it’s not hard to see why Patisserie Coustance was voted Great Dunmow’s best new business!
Special Ingredient: This uniquely modern artisan patisserie and café prides itself on the quality and provenance of its products.
01206 765034 Tymperleys, through the archway off Colchester’s historic Trinity Street, is a Tudor townhouse within a walled garden. It offers an oasis of tranquillity in the centre of town. Over its first year of trading it has developed a reputation for afternoon tea, served on the traditional three tiers with sandwiches, scones, fancies and mini-cakes along with loose leaf tea, a cafetiere of coffee or a glass of Champagne.
Special Ingredient: Everything is made to order so all dietary requirements can be catered for.
Perrywood Garden Centre & Nurseries
Indulge yourself in a sumptuous afternoon tea in the Terrace Room at Perrywood and enjoy panoramic views of the Essex countryside. Talented pastry chefs have designed the perfect menu for a special occasion. Every afternoon tea is freshly made to order and perfect for celebrating in style.
Special Ingredient: For that special occasion, why not add a touch of fizz or a celebration cake?