Hot or iced, there’s just something soothing about a great cup of tea. We know, we know … but Delco coffee shops! Relax, we still love our java, too. However, high tea, bubble tea or a strong pot of tea all mean it’s time for you to rethink your next order.
Wait — high tea and bubble tea in one breath? That’s one of the things that makes Delco’s melting pot so amazing. It’s your one-stop county for everything. You know what high tea entails, thanks to our obsession with the Royals. In addition to a pot of tea, high tea may include any or all of the following: delicate finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, sides of lemon curd and preserves, and pastries. It’s a relaxed, sometimes sophisticated way to spend an afternoon. Bonus: Most tea rooms also have a boutique filled with tea, tea-related notions and more.
Bubble — or boba — tea is something quite different, yet just as extraordinary. It originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s when an enterprising tea stand decided to add tapioca pearls to its rather frothy teas. It’s now made in more ways than can be named, using other toppings such as grass jelly, aloe vera and more, plus milks and flavorings. Why “bubble”? These drinks are shaken, resulting in bubbles at the top with boba at the bottom — and, a whole lot of flavor in between.
Go ahead, try high tea and bubble tea. What’s your favorite?
Tea Service to Make the Queen Proud
Photo courtesy of Orchard Tea Room
The Orchard Tea Room is part of the beautiful Rose Hip Barn. Talk about a place to go for everything tea! You can shop online for Greenhalgh Tea, accessories, serveware and tea snacks; take part in virtual and in-person classes and special events, or host your own celebration in the Orchard Tea Room and Orchard Area. Of course, there’s also afternoon tea, but on just one Friday and Saturday per month — and reservations are a must. Enjoy all the high tea trimmings with freshly made sandwiches and desserts; dietary restrictions can be accommodated with notice. Remember to call for high tea reservations and shopping hours!
371 Glen Mills Rd., Thornton, (610) 800-9597.
Charming is just the start — this boutique tea room’s high tea selection is extensive, as is the assortment of freshly made sandwiches and desserts. Bonus: With notice, they can accommodate dietary requirements! Pop into the boutique for gourmet condiments, sweets, teas, home goods, decorations and clothing. This is also the perfect venue for small special events, like birthday parties and showers. Open for shopping from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and high tea from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; shopping is also available on Wednesday by appointment. Reservations for high tea are required.
220 S. State Road, Upper Darby, (610) 352-2334.
You can get a full afternoon tea here, but did you know you can also get a gluten-free-friendly afternoon tea, too? And, that’s just one part of an extensive menu that goes beyond tea and scones to sandwiches, entree salads and English favorites — Welsh rarebit, anyone? You’ll be wowed by the desserts and children’s menu, too. Stop into the boutique and pick something up for your favorite Anglophile. This quaint tea shop also offers private dinner parties, special events and catering. Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; reservations are highly recommended.
503 West Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 971-0390.
Photo courtesy of A Taste of Britain
And Now for Something Different…
Fresh ingredients delight here, whether you’re sipping a Tsao special — brown sugar milk black tea with crystal pearl and bubble — or any one of a staggering assortment of bubble teas, freshly brewed tea, fruit teas or fruit tea slush. If you’ve never tried dessert tea, then add this to your bucket list the next time you’re near Media. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed Monday.
14 West State Street, Media, (267) 803-3000.
If you’ll be near the 69th Street Terminal anytime soon, then you’ll want to pop by this spot for unique teas and desserts that feature boba (tapioca “bubbles”). Many of the giant drinks come with boba, but you can also add it, too. Not into boba? How about the virgin mojito series; desserts like mango sticky rice or more traditional sweets; Italian sodas; and specialty teas. Ask about the limited-time seasonal specials! Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
7050 Terminal Square, in HMART Food Court, #217, Upper Darby, (610) 352-5222.
Photo courtesy of S&P Boba Tea
The focus is squarely on the drinks here, so be prepared to settle into some bubble tea, milk tea, or green tea in every imaginable flavor, plus boba-free hot drinks in amazing seasonal flavors, like strawberry cheesecake. Want more bubbles? Add on extra boba, assorted jellies or — wait for it! — popping bubbles. Catering is available, too. Open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
1904 Darby Rd., Havertown, (215) 868-1770.
When Your Friend Likes Coffee and You Like Tea
Photo courtesy of Five Points Coffee
It doesn’t have to be a friendship divided when you want tea but your BFF needs coffee. In fact, the tea options here are so strong that you may just convert that coffee drinker to a tea aficionado. Start with the London Fog, a seductive mix of Earl Grey tea with vanilla and steamed milk. Pop into the upper room above the cafe when you want to relax or need to work. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sunday.
47 Long Lane, Upper Darby, (484) 466-2401.
La Colombe tea? Yes, please! That name alone will make any coffee drinker sit up and take notice. If that doesn’t do it, suggest a chai tea latte with its familiar steamed milk vibe. Add a flavor shot to any hot or cold beverage, too! You may know this spot as a breakfast and lunch cafe, or a bakery. But its tea game is strong. Open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
23 S. Jackson St., Media, (484) 444-2424.
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Want to know more about everything Delco? We’re more than just your source for good eats — we’re your source for where to stay, what to do and more in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We’re Visit Delco, PA, and we’ve got you covered from Philly to the Brandywine. Contact us at (610) 565-3679, by email, or online.
— Nina Malone
Featured photo courtesy of A Taste of Britain