Living in the mountains of Colorado, the opportunity to attend a High Tea doesn’t happen that often, unless you count sipping a cuppa’ tea at elevation as qualifying for a High Tea. This strikes me as a little unfair, as the Roaring Fork Valley (where I live and where two leaves and a bud is based), is an absolute Mecca for foodies – with numerous farmers’ markets, food festivals, wine and spirit tastings, and other events happening all year long. There certainly is not a shortage of great dining and drinking establishments, nor is there a shortage of locals or tourists who are ready to converge upon them. It is rather surprising that High Teas aren’t a little more common in our area, especially since the locals and visitors here have excellent taste when it comes to craft teas.
When Lavender & Thyme, a local Bed and Breakfast, announced they were going to start offering High Teas every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, I jumped at the chance to attend and experience my very first High Tea. With my good friend, Mindy, along for the ride, I set out for what I was hoping to be a great afternoon – and I was not disappointed.
After arriving at the B&B, we were given a tour of the cozy establishment by the gracious owner, Peter Tijm. We were then escorted to the expansive, wraparound porch, where a beautiful table was set for four, as two other ladies were also attending the tea.
After being seated and making introductions among ourselves, we were offered the choice of two different teas from two leaves and a bud – Organic Assam and Jasmine Petal. I liked that we were given the choice between a caffeinated black tea and a green tea with light caffeine. Knowing that I had a lot of projects waiting for me in the office later that afternoon, I opted for the caffeinated Assam, as did my friend Mindy. The other two ladies opted for the Jasmine Petal, so it worked out well in that we were able to share with each other what we liked about the different teas we were drinking.
Served in English tradition, this High Tea included three courses. The first course, of savories, included tiny carrot and raisin sandwiches that were rich and delicate and had the most amazing flavor. We also enjoyed asparagus wrapped in ham, traditional cucumber sandwiches, and mini chicken salad croissants. The next course included a delicious shortbread served with Devonshire cream, strawberry preserves, and lemon curd. I particularly liked the Devonshire cream and believe it will now be my new best friend. The final course included a sumptuous array of sweet treats, including chocolate covered pastries and a scrumptious mini blueberry tort. I attended the High Tea at 12:30 p.m., and I really didn’t think I’d eat enough “finger foods” to constitute an actual lunch. However, I found that by the end of the third course, I was stuffed! Everything was exquisite and delicious.
For me, the surprising outcome of my first High Tea was how much fun I had. Honestly, going into the experience, I worried that it would be too formal or stuffy. Was I dressed well enough? Would the other guests see me as not fluent as they on the finer aspects of a High Tea? A formal, stuffy experience? Not at all! On the contrary, the High Tea was very relaxed and informal. All-in-all, it was a beautiful, Colorado afternoon, spent with great tea, good food, and flowing conversation.
Innkeeper, Jan Papp, assured us that a traditional High Tea could indeed be very formal. However, being a small, quaint establishment in the Colorado mountains – they weren’t really expecting guests to attend in white gloves or formal dress. To me, the High Tea at Lavender & Thyme seems like a great opportunity for girlfriend getaways, mother/daughter outings, or bridal showers. Not excluding gentlemen who enjoy tea, I imagine couples having High Tea on that beautiful wraparound porch late in the afternoon would be a great way to relax and unwind.
If you find yourself in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, give Lavender & Thyme a call at 1-866-526-3822. High Teas are held on Fridays and Saturdays between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and are just $15.50 per person. Do call ahead, as reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.
Not visiting Colorado anytime soon? Tell us … where do you like to attend High Tea?
JulieJune 29, 2011 at 12:25 am
Sounds like a great afternoon! I, too, can’t resist a good Devonshire cream! I’ll definitely have to check this out the next time I’m in Glenwood Springs!
Annie MeadowsJuly 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm
I am the founder member of the FIRST Las Vegas Ladies Tea Society, and we are in our 5th year! I recently purchased a box of 100 of your wonderful green tea (tropical taste). I loved this story about the tea in Colorado. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to travel there. My music takes me world-wide year round and my Tea Society will be featured in Tea Time Magazine Sept/Oct 2011 Issue!!!! Blessings, Annie
StephanieJuly 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm
Julie and Annie – We hope to see you both in Colorado someday!
Margaret StuderJuly 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Lavender and Thyme sounds like a lovely place. I am glad they serve your excellent Organic Assam and Jasmine Petal. I believe I have reviewed both of those teas.
In any case, I hate to have to say something negative, but I hate even more to see a particular factual mistake continue to spread.
Lavender and Thyme believes they are following “English tradition”. If so, they have misnamed their event. What they are holding is afternoon tea, not high tea.
High tea is actually an outdated term for the English laboring class evening meal, what we call dinner. It consist of a hot meal with a hot meat dish and accompanied by tea. It is called high tea because it is served at the high (kitchen or dining room) table.
The event Lavender and Thyme is having is afternoon tea. This is the tea with scones, tea sandwiches, and sweets. It is the fancier, more social tea. It is also called “low tea” because it was originally served in parlors and sitting rooms on the type of low tables that are in such rooms.
Hopefully you can pass this information along to them and they can name their event properly. However, tearooms and other places all across the USA make this mistake everyday, so they will not be alone if they keep the name.
Congratulations on having Two Leaves and a Bud served there. I hope it motivates many more people to purchase your lcvely teas.
StephanieJuly 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm
Thank you for your insight on the differences between a high tea and an afternoon tea. I consider myself corrected! I’ll pass your comment on to the innkeeper!