Indulging in afternoon tea was a must-do for me when I traveled to London for a few days while studying abroad in Berlin. My dream was to have it at The Ritz-Carlton, an iconic and gorgeous destination. The reservations were fully booked, but I was persistent. I stalked their booking site for weeks until I luckily snagged a last-minute cancellation. 

The Vibes

Upon arriving to the dining room, I was immediately blown away by the decor. Everything looked elegant and I was constantly tempted to pull out my phone to document everything. There was live piano music, where guests dressed in formal attire gathered around to enjoy the calming environment with a cup of tea. It was a sign of the special meal we were about to experience.

Cate Dembinski

The Tea 

Of course, the tea selection is the most important part of afternoon tea. As a massive tea fan, I was incredibly excited to make my choices. There were eighteen teas to pick from, ranging from a classic Earl Grey to a more adventurous Chocolate Mint Rooibos. We selected three options: Oolong Formosa, Dragon Pearls, and the Ritz Chai. The Oolong Formosa had a light roasted flavor that slightly changed the notes of the tea with each brew. It was incredibly smooth and slightly fruity. Dragon Pearls was a delicate green tea, its tea leaves resembled its namesake. The jasmine blossoms in the tea gave it a pleasant aroma. The Ritz Chai was perfectly spiced and paired perfectly with a splash of milk. The black tea was bold, yet it wasn’t overwhelmed by flavors like cardamom and cloves. Each one was complex and delicious. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with the Oolong Formosa, which was remarkable on its own without milk or sugar.

Cate Dembinski

The Food

As soon as the selection of sandwiches, scones, and desserts was placed in front of us, my jaw dropped. The presentation was simply stunning and everything was clearly made with love. You could tell someone put a lot of detail into crafting the menu. The scones were not dry whatsoever and were perfectly complemented by the strawberry jam and clotted cream combination. All the sandwiches paired well together. Unexpectedly, the smoked salmon sandwich was my favorite, which was shocking since I'm not a smoked salmon fan. Once we finally made our way to the desserts, we somehow still had room in our stomachs. I was particularly a fan of the sour cherry tart and the white chocolate passionfruit ganache.

Cate Dembinski

The Service 

Our server was excellent and led us to our table promptly, where he pulled out our chairs for us and brought our jackets to the coat check. He carefully explained all of our choices and the menu to us. Once the food arrived, he took the time to identify each item and the ingredients. He constantly came around to check on us and offered us refills on each food item. At the end, he even let us stay longer than we were technically permitted!

Afternoon tea was a great memory I’ll share with my friends and a highlight of my trip to London!