It’s the historical aspect of tea that draws me to this practice. However, let me be clear it’s not just about having a cup of tea and eating yummy desserts. There’s a certain rush of emotions and experiences that occur when one partakes in afternoon tea. You can have a cup of tea just about anywhere, but it’s not the same as the experience that accompanies afternoon tea.
With my previous visits to DC, I had never explored the afternoon tea options available. This may not be a fair point of judgment, but I judge a place based on the options for afternoon tea, so luckily DC had plenty to choose from. After careful consideration, my sister and I opted for a more traditional approach to afternoon tea and we selected The Greenhouse at The Jefferson Hotel.
The Jefferson Hotel joins a shortlist of historical hotels still up and running in the US. The Beaux Arts designed hotel was once apartments for elite Washingtonians. Inside one would find black and white tiled floors with accents of gold on the fixtures. Furniture is trimmed in the finest of wood and classic American artwork lines the walls. In 1955, the apartments were converted into a luxurious hotel and the rest was history.
While the space is petite, there is no shortage of the finer things in life. From multiple dining venues to a spa, this hotel is not lacking. Our afternoon tea was held in the hotel’s Greenhouse. This luxurious space is luminous with the bright shining sun that radiates down from the skylight. With just a few tables, the setting is intimate and quaint making for a more peaceful afternoon. I remember turning to my sister and saying to her that this is what afternoon tea is supposed to feel like.
Prior to our tea, a server comes out with lavender velvet stools for our purses to sit on. No more having to place a bag on the floor. This kind gesture alone set the tone for the afternoon. To start off our service, we selected the champagne and tea option and sipped on our glasses of champagne while we await our teas.
For my tea, I selected the Green Dragon. It was quite pungent so it packed more flavor than I expected, but it was still refreshing. The service began like any tea services with the sandwiches first. Served on black and white traditional serving plate, 5 sandwiches lay gently on the dish. Sandwiches ranged in texture from eggs to smoked salmon. I’m starting to realize that smoked salmon must be an afternoon tea staple and as a lover of smoked salmon I’m appreciative of that.
Next up were the scones and I’m going to make the bold proclamation that these were the best scones I have ever had in my life. For the first time, scones were presented to be warm freshly out of the oven. Each bite was soft with just a hint of moisture. Accompanying the scones were an incredibly delicious array of spreads such as Devonshire cream, strawberry spread and the most to die for lemon curd. In fact, I think every tea now should add lemon curd as an option. I’ll admit that scones, typically aren’t my favorite part of tea, but The Jefferson changed that for me. Everywhere needs to take note because this is how you do scones.
For the conclusion, there was quite the array of delicious sweets. In fact, this was the most bountiful selection of sweets that I have ever had with afternoon tea. On the multilevel tray lie a churro, a mini chocolate cake, blueberry tart, carrot cake and a creamy dessert topped with peach. The plethora of options presented a variety of flavors that delighted the palate. It was the perfect conclusion to a wondrous experience.
Many places offer afternoon tea, but they forget to give you that fine experience. Rest assured that The Jefferson does that and more.