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High tea in London, with a catch

In September my husband is taking me to London to celebrate my birthday (yay!!)
I'd love to go for a high tea, but alas my husband doesn't like the brew. Would we be able to get a coffee for him instead of the tea?
A silly question I know... I'm sure he'd enjoy the 'high' part tremendously, so if we could find a way around the 'tea' part we should have a nice afternoon.

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  1. It's been a few years since I've been to tea in England, but I recall always being offered coffee as well. Also, afternoon tea is the dainty little cakes and scones tea and high tea is more of a working class meal- think casseroles rather than petit fours. Enjoy your birthday!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hobbert

      I'm also assuming that the OP means afternoon tea, not high tea. Certainly in my part of the UK, I'd have no problem being served coffee, so I assume there would be a similar lack of problem in London.

      1. re: Harters

        Thanks both! I'll go and find a nice place to get an AFTERNOON tea... I see I have to work on my culinary English as well ;)

    2. I don't think you'll have any problem finding coffee or something else for your husband to drink. There are quite a few threads here about where to have a good tea, so use the search button to find some names. A few that come to my mind are Deux Salons, Fortnum & Mason, The Mandeville Hotel etc.

      1. I just took 2 visiting Japanese friends to afternoon tea at The Wolseley on Piccadilly and thought it was excellent food and service and very reasonable at either £9.75 for a cream tea (tea, scones, jam, clotted cream) or the afternoon tea at £22.50 with sandwiches and lovely little cakes. Service was excellent, so you probably could get coffee there - there's also jasmine and green tea for those who don't like black.

        1. Make sure that wherever you get taken, it is doing a "proper" afternoon tea - that means it includes sandwiches, scones and cakes. Anything less is just not "proper"!

          1. The afternoon tea at the Intercontinental in Mayfair is excellent -- the various pastries are particularly well made and elegant, plus they replenish your teas with a whole new pot and new leaves, rather than simply adding more hot water.

            In addition, over the last few years, the ones which I've liked the most include Reubens at the Palace, exceptional technique in the pastry department. The Athenaeum's afternoon tea is quite elaborate, with multiple "courses" -- trays of sandwiches, a cart of pastries and cakes, scones, crumpets and teacakes.

            Some of the more popular "name" hotel afternoon teas, like the ones at the Langham, Goring, Landmark, Corinthian etc. are mostly good but not great, especially for the higher prices that they charge. The only one I've been to that was good value at that price range and worth returning was the one at Espelette in the Connaught.

            2 Replies
            1. re: limster

              Thanks for the rec on the Intercontinental - I have my parents coming over to London next month and having been weighing up the various options and think I might give this one a go.

              1. re: pj26

                Cool - love to hear what you think. I had a Jubilee tea that came with a gin and dubonnet; at £35 it cost roughly the same as other afternoon teas without alcohol that weren't even as good.

            2. Amazingly, with the Jubilee and the Olympics, the Brits have become more accomodating. Depending on where you go, he might even be able to sneak in a glass of wine or champagne........a scotch....or Gawd forbid a beer! (even I, a transplanted Yank who lived in the UK for 5 years, couldn't do a beer with what they serve at tea)

              4 Replies
              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                Most afternoon teas will have an option for champagne. And it has nothing to do with the Olympics or Jubilee, the Brits never need an excuse for a drink.

                1. re: pj26

                  "the Brits never need an excuse for a drink"

                  It's made us the nation we are.

                  1. re: Harters

                    Exactly, and proud we are of it too!

                    1. re: pj26

                      Trust me...........LOL.I never had any complaints about "excuses for a drink" when I lived there. No tea-totaller here in the US, I found I often had to order a "half" to keep up with some of my lustier native mates! And GAWD was I happy when I learned I could order a DOUBLE G&T.......a gil just isn't very much! And yes,lemon and 1 or 2 ice cubes please!

              2. check out Jean Cazals new book Tea Time. He photographs and describes traditional and new choices for tea in London--fantastic. And your husband will have no problem with the choices.