When most American’s hear the phrase “afternoon tea,” they picture England and royalty. And it’s true that the tradition has its roots in merry old England.
Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, is said to have “invented” the tradition of afternoon tea in 1840. It was a time when upper class families were having dinner later in the evening (thanks, electricity), and the Duchess always found herself feeling a bit peckish in the late afternoon.
Soon, she was inviting her friends over for tea and snacks in the late afternoon, and the tradition began spreading as a social must-do amongst upper-class ladies in England.
The tradition of afternoon tea has endured, and has now morphed into a staple in many large cities around the world. (I myself have been to A LOT of afternoon teas in London!)
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”Henry James
Afternoon tea in Cleveland
While I expect to be able to find a charming afternoon tea in most cities in Europe, it’s not something I expected to find in Cleveland, Ohio.
Imagine my delighted surprise, then, when I discovered The Macaron Tea Room in Broadview Heights.
Broadview Heights isn’t strictly “Cleveland,” but it’s a suburb in the Greater Cleveland area that can be reached within 30 minutes from downtown, so I’m counting it here.
Plus, the afternoon tea at The Macaron Tea Room is just worth knowing about.
The Macaron Tea Room
Opened in 2017, The Macaron Tea room aims to “make you feel like you have stepped into an elegant British tea room where everything is made in house and always fresh.”
As soon as I saw photos of their colorful afternoon teas and beautiful macarons online, I knew I needed to go.
I met my friend Kat (a fellow Cleveland-based blogger) for lunch one afternoon, and instantly felt like I was transported to a tea room in Britain.
Even though afternoon tea would traditionally be between 4 and 5 p.m., The Macaron Tea Room serves theirs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
I can’t complain, though, because the tea was fantastic!
Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea
The Macaron Tea Room offers several different choices when it comes to having tea. They cater to all sorts of dietary needs from vegan to keto, and offer both Afternoon Tea and High Tea on their menu.
What’s the difference, you ask?
Well, the traditional Afternoon Tea is what the Duchess of Bedford “invented” all those years ago. It includes hot tea, a couple light sandwiches, scones, and then some cakes or pastries. It was usually enjoyed on couches in a comfy room, and there was usually gossip – afternoon tea and gossip go hand-in-hand!
“High Tea” is sometimes used interchangeably with Afternoon Tea, but traditionally it was a little different. While Afternoon Tea was a snack people in high society enjoyed between lunch and dinner, the working class adopted the tradition a bit differently.
Tea was expensive, and someone working full-time wouldn’t have had the luxury of stopping for a social break in between lunch and dinner. What they had upon coming home from work was called High Tea, and was more hearty and akin to a dinner rather than a snack.
The main difference between the two at The Macaron Tea Room is that you get more food if you order the High Tea.
The afternoon tea experience
Unlike some restaurants or hotels where afternoon tea is simply one option on a larger menu, at The Macaron Tea Room it’s the opposite; they do have regular lunch items on their menu, but the focus here is really on the afternoon tea experience.
When you arrive, you’ll be shown to the Tea Room and seated at a table with high-back chairs, a white tablecloth, and beautifully mismatched floral tea ware.
You can order your tea first (their menu is extensive!!), and then your food. I got the High Tea, and Kat got the Afternoon Tea. We each got a tea pot with our chosen tea (their Passion Fruit tea gets my vote!), and a 3-tiered tea cake stand.
Currently, this is what you get with both tea options:
- 1 pot of tea
- Top tier: 1 macaron and 1 mini pecan pie
- Middle tier: 1 scone with clotted cream and jam, 1 tart, and tea biscuits
- Bottom tier: 3 mini sandwiches (cucumber with cream cheese and chives, roast beef, and Ukrainian cheese salad)
- 1 pot of tea
- Top tier: 1 macaron, 1 mini pecan pie, 1 wafer cake
- Middle tier: 1 scone with clotted cream and jam, 1 tart, and 1 Victorian sponge cake
- Bottom tier: 5 mini sandwiches (cucumber with cream cheese and chives, roast beef, tuna salad, shredded egg with garlic spread, and Ukrainian cheese salad)
Both tea displays were beautiful (and totally Instagrammable!), but more importantly, the food was all DELICIOUS!
My favorite sandwiches were the shredded egg and the roast beef, and both the tart and Victorian Sponge cake were noteworthy. The macarons here are also MASSIVE and perfectly made.
Both Kat and I agreed that the whole experience was a good value ($25 for the Afternoon Tea and $35 for the High Tea) – and I was even able to take my leftovers home.
(We also both bought more macarons to take home, because they were so good and you can buy them for just $2 apiece if you buy in pairs.)
If you’re looking for an authentic afternoon tea experience here in northeast Ohio, I don’t think you can go wrong with a visit to The Macaron Tea Room.
Where: The Macaron Tea Room, 203 E Royalton Road, Suite 114, Broadview Heights, OH 44147
When: The tea room is open from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The bakery (where you can buy their beautiful macarons) is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Reservations? It’s highly recommended that you book a table in advance, especially if you want to visit on a Saturday. You can call (440) 334-9119 for reservations.
How much? Their teas are meant to serve 1 person, but they do offer “Tea for Two” options that make everything a bit cheaper. Some prices are: Afternoon Tea for 1 – $25; High Tea for 1 – $35; High Tea for Two – $45; Afternoon Tea for Two – $35. They also do tea for kids!
How long? I would allow at least 1-2 hours for your tea experience; basically the same amount of time you’d allow for going out to lunch anywhere else.
Did you know you could go for afternoon tea in Cleveland? Who wants to go?
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Amanda was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and has always been a fangirl of the state. Now, she wants to share her love of Cleveland with the world, highlighting all the best things to do, see, and eat in the CLE. She’s been running Cleveland Traveler since January 2019.