Taking Tea

DINEBy Kimberly Lord Stewart

There is something about perfectly prepared tea in a fine porcelain cup that transforms you to gentler times. Whether you are looking for an afternoon of finery or a break from holiday shopping, Denver and Boulder’s teahouses will fill your cup and refresh your soul.
White gloves and a hat are optional, but you’ll find both at The Brown Palace’s lobby tearoom. The Brown puts the traditional in the time-honored practice of a proper high tea. Loose-leaf tea in polished silver pots, a triple tiered tray of scones with thick Devonshire cream, tiny tea sandwiches and pastries are only the start. For the holidays, The Brown Palace sweetens the pot with Royal Honey Bee Tea involving a glass of Kir Royale alongside a pot of Jade Oolong tea with honey from the hotel’s rooftop hives. It’s not unusual to see perfectly coifed children taking tea at The Brown Palace for the holidays. The decorations will mesmerize them as will the towering trays of treats, sparkling cider, china teacups and a pianist. Be sure to make reservations early; tea is a sought-after tradition in Denver during November and December. brownpalace.com
There is a lovely little teashop in Denver that takes me back to the small towns outside London, where I took refuge in the local teashops. Jessica Avery’s The House of Commons is a soothing spot where one can escape from the day’s worries. Avery, who grew up in Lancaster and moved to Denver, started the shop as a way to reconnect with her heritage. The shop is a favorite of other expats from Britain who also get homesick for their UK roots. During the holidays, The House of Commons puts on its finery with sweet holiday treats, roast beef and horseradish cream sandwiches, chicken and sage stuffŠng sandwiches and, of course, traditional cucumber sandwiches. Avery blends her own Christmas rose tea, scented with cinnamon, cloves, orange and rose. It has become so popular that it’s available year-round. Reservations are recommended, and there is space for group parties.

Every Saturday and Sunday from November 30 through the holiday season, Boulder’s St Julien Hotel & Spa becomes a hub for sugar, candy and gingerbread houses at its Gingerbread Teas. Children can don an apron and decorate cookies while nibbling on crustless sandwiches, scones and petit fours. The tea is provided by Tea Forté and includes a global selection of organic black and herbal teas. While the kids coat their fingers in sugar and sprinkles, adults can enjoy the music from six-time Grammy award-winning pianist Ralph Sharon. A portion of proceeds from the Gingerbread Teas will be donated to There with Care, a nonprofit that supports
children and families dealing with life-threatening diseases. “We are excited to o–er Gingerbread Teas, and more importantly, to partner with There With Care for a third year,” says Peter Walstra, general manager of St Julien. “This organization provides such a vital service to the community, especially valuable during the holidays, when aff–ected families have even more financial burden than usual.” Reservations are recommended. stjulien.com
While you’re shopping in Denver’s Belmar area, there’s no better place to drop in for a hot cup of tea than at Wystone’s World Teas. Wystone’s takes tea seriously with true black, green and white teas, as well as herbal teas, that are picked to maintain the healthy, soulful properties of the leaves. They also have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu that creatively uses
tea in its recipes. wystonestea.com

Colorado’s crowning achievement in international partnerships is The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which was built through a sister-city relationship between Boulder and Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The teahouse is unlike any other with authentic artisan craftsmanship, extensive tea choices and a menu that reflects Boulder’s global image. Dushanbe serves afternoon tea in a relaxing, yet traditional service, which includes white linens, towers of scones, pastries, small bites and sandwiches. boulderteahouse.com