If you and the rest of your “ladies who lunch” crew have been stuck in an afternoon rut, why not change things up and become “ladies who take tea”? Whether you like it served in the style of the English or the Japanese, in an atmosphere that’s urban or Victorian, Phoenix has a tea house that’s right for you. Here are the Top 5 places to get a spot of tea in the Valley.
1 The Lobby Tea Court at The Phoenician
Put on your best frock, a pair of white gloves, and head to the fabulous Phoenician resort for afternoon tea served daily in the English tradition in the charming Lobby Tea Court. This is a full tea, so take your time enjoying the finger sandwiches, scones (with Devonshire cream and preserves, mmm ...), pastries, and of course, a fine selection of premium blend teas. Sip and chat as classical music plays in the background, and take in the lavish room and picturesque scene of everyone dressed in their finery. Voted more than once as the Best Afternoon Tea in Phoenix by both the "Phoenix New Times" and the "Arizona Republic," the spot is a popular choice, and reservations are absolutely required. Book your table by calling 480.423.2530.
6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 480.941.8200 web
2 Nobuo at Teeter House
This has certainly got to be one of the most interesting places, if not the most interesting place, to enjoy a cup of tea in Phoenix. A Japanese restaurant housed in a Victorian-style home in the Heritage Square area of downtown, Nobuo at Teeter House is the pet project of chef extraordinaire Nobuo Fukuda. In addition to creating exquisite Japanese fair, the restaurant also offers afternoon tea, and comforting blends include oolong with hibiscus and barley. Ask the staff to help you pick a tea that's satisfying on its own, or to pair with any of Nobuo's small lunch bites, such as shishito peppers with soy and shaved bonito; watermelon and goat cheese salad; tempura squash blossoms; or sugar snap peas, sesame sauce and shaved bonito.
622 E. Adams Street, Phoenix, AZ 602.254.0600 web
3 Souvia Tea
Souvia Tea is a bright and clean space in north Phoenix with an urban and modern feel to it. This is not the place you want to go for a fancy cup of tea -- though the teas can and do get fancy -- but more of the place you find yourself steering toward when you're in the mood for a cup that's refreshing, comforting and served in a laid-back atmosphere. In other words, safe to hit up on the way to or from working out with your personal trainer, running errands, shopping and the like. Other aspects that make Souvia fit so well into the everyday lives of its loyalists are the incredibly friendly and knowledgeable staff and the real, honest-to-goodness dedication the owners, a husband and wife team, have to teaching the public about the joys of tea. Stop in to pick up some blends, enjoy a cup or two while you're there, and sign up for one of their many education classes or workshops.
15414 N. Seventh Street, Ste. 8, Phoenix, AZ 602.938.1216 web
4 Tea Infusion
Located in Tempe Marketplace, Tea Fusion is a Tea Bar and Cafe, and our favorite place for a tea and pastry combination, as all the desserts are organic and still remarkably divine. Varieties of tea include strawberry sencha green tea, blueberry white tea, darjeeling, oolong, coconut, Moroccan mint and plenty more to make a list a mile long. Sit at the bar and chat with the friendly staff, or stake out a table and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and comfortably get some work done. You'll also appreciate the fact that the employees know their teas, meaning if you have a question, they'll be able provide an answer. And most importantly, whether you want your tea hot, cold, with boba, etc., they'll make it for you -- all you have to do is ask. With that said, we'd recommend one of their green teas if you're in the mood for something warm, and one of their iced chais with boba if you'd rather take your tea cold.
2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ 480.967.1141 web
Old Town Scottsdale is fortunate to be home to a retail store that's the BMW of tea purveyors -- TeaGeschwendner, a shop first established in Trier, Germany, in the 1970s. From there, the company's commitment to the very finest specialty teas enabled it to expand first across Germany, to cities such as Berlin, Braunschweig, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and others, and then to six additional countries on four different continents for more than 130 total retail locations. Every shop carries more than 300 varieties of loose leaf teas ranging in price from a few cents per cup to the very rarest teas, grown by fine estates exclusively for TeaGeschwendner. Have an individual pot brewed to your standards right there in the store, then have your favorite blend weighed so you can enjoy it at home. Be sure to take your time browsing all the high-end wares and accessories lining the walls -- true tea enthusiasts are sure to find something they can't live without.
7051 E. Fifth Ave., Ste. C, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 480.686.8503 web