It’s Tea Time on Florida’s Historic Coast

From Lemon Ginger Green Tea served piping hot in a proper tea cup and saucer to Coconut Oolong Tea poured over ice and served with a side of locally sourced wildflower honey, tea is a significant part of the culinary culture around Florida’s Historic Coast. With St. Augustine at the epicenter, neighborhood tea purveyors are more than happy to share their wisdom and herbal creations on your next Florida vacation.
“There are many different types of teas that come from all over the world,” explains Colleen Messner, owner of The Spice & Tea Exchange with locations on Hypolita Street and by the Old Jail on San Marco Avenue. “From herbals and greens to white teas, black teas, Pu-erh, Oolongs and Matchas, everyone has a different taste and perception of the tea that they enjoy.”
For some, tea is a way to wake up in the morning. For others, it’s a way to unwind after a long day. And for millions of people across the globe, tea is a tradition – a rite and a way to connect with friends and family.
“It’s all about afternoon conversations where the world slows down for a moment and you have social time that seems to be a thing of the past,” says Jennifer White Conner, owner of The Chatsworth Pub and Tea Room on Marine Street, which offers English Afternoon Tea seven days a week as well as for private parties and special events.
Inspired to offer proper high tea service by her English grandfather and Australian husband, Conner says that The Chatsworth’s hosting tradition is only a few years old, but has become quite popular amongst small groups for everything from birthdays and bridal showers to book clubs and baby showers.
“All of our teas are organic,” she explains. “The most popular teas we serve are Organic White Champagne Raspberry Tea, Organic Orange Blossom Tea and some teas from England and Australia. For treats, we receive a lot of compliments on the scones including Wild Berry and White Chocolate, Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon served with Devonshire Cream.”  
Another local establishment offering up tea service for locals and visitors to Florida’s Historic Coast is The Corazon Cinema and Café on Granada Street. Owner Karla Wagner hosts Afternoon Tea at The Corazon every Saturday and Sunday. The event includes freshly brewed tea from Cultivate Tea & Spice Co. as well as an assortment of scones, macarons, brownies and fresh fruit and the showing of a Gilded Age film.
“We serve everything on beautiful china and with classic linens,” says Wagner. “Our ladies dress the part as do many of our guests. Sometimes people will dress up with hats and attire, which is always fun. It’s like a scene out of Downton Abbey. We’ve played films such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Gosford Park. It’s like back in the days when Henry Flagler walked the streets of St. Augustine.”
Pro Tip! For those visiting from out of town, you must make reservations for Afternoon Tea at The Corazon at least 24 hours in advance.
Whether you’re looking for traditional high tea served on vintage tea ware beneath chandeliers at The Chatsworth Pub and Tea Room, a classic Gilded Age film with your herbal beverage and scones or simply want to pop into The Spice & Tea Exchange to commemorate your vacation, tea abounds on Florida’s Historic Coast.