Afternoon Tea at Colonial Quarter

This special tea time is no longer regularly offered. If you are hoping to join, contact the Colonial Quarter to see when the next tea time is available! (904)342-2857

St. Augustine’s Colonial Quarter is more than a collection of historic buildings to tour.  A step through the heavy wooden gates any day is a step back in time to centuries where hard work all day was necessary for survival. The recent addition of an afternoon tea experience shares a bit of a young woman’s experience in British Colonial St Augustine where tea was not an occasional luxury but a daily way of life… and many women’s primary opportunity to subtly discuss current events and swap household secrets.

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” -Henry James

Rose, the aspiring tea hostess, took my daughter’s hand at the entrance to the Colonial Quarter and led us along a crushed shell path. An arbor laden with green grapes shaded us from the summer sun and as we walked, Rose spoke with a rough British accent- betraying her colonial upbringing.

This St. Augustine Tea Time is in the 18th Century British Colony part of the Colonial Quarter.

Once inside the air conditioned De Mesa-Sanchez House, Rose introduced us to a proper British lady, Abigail. Together, they shared the difference between formal, afternoon tea and the hearty “high tea” {aka dinner} working class residents took daily.

crash course:
high tea = a laborer’s meal at a high table around 5:00
low tea = afternoon tea, a formal time of tea and chit-chat often in a living room around a “low” tea table

Colonial Quarter’s Tea Time is the only time visitors can step over the ropes cordoning off rooms of antiques. Georgia Anne was excited to be sitting at the table we usually gaze at through a window or doorway. Tea times are intimate affairs now just as they were in the 1800’s. The table sat 8 when we were there and I instantly thought of booking a party for a few friends and their girls. Learning history by living history is something they’ll never forget!

The Colonial Quarter’s Tea Hour is a step back in time to British Colonial 1800s.
Abigail explains how to stir tea with a soft hand & no clinking!

Abigail and Rose guided us through enjoying a “low tea” like proper ladies. They share bits of local history, teach manners and pour a perfect cuppa {provided by nearby favorite, Spice and Tea Exchange} and pass treats like scones, jam and chocolates. It’s a fun tea time with a swirl of encouragement and education. Perfect for all ages, Abigail shared that it is becoming as popular for Daddy-daughter dates as it is with well-travelled ladies looking for a cool respite on hot days. Immersing ourselves in both place and time, we took our first sips of 18th century tea.

Georgia asked for mint infused green tea… and she likes it!

If you leave your time in the De Mesa House longing to share a traditional tea with your friends, there is a packet in the gift shop of all you need to plan your own tea party!

I applaud Colonial Quarter for bringing a historical tea experience to St. Augustine. This isn’t a time of tea sandwiches, bon bons, haughty waiters and doilies. Instead, it felt like I was welcomed into Abigail’s home. She and her friend served tea, simple scones and shared kind words of encouragement. I can’t wait for my next tea time in St. Augustine!

Tea Time at the Colonial Quarter
 33 St. George Street

Fridays & Saturdays at 1:00 & 3:00 pm or by appointment.
$10 per person

This special tea time is no longer regularly offered. If you are hoping to join, contact the Colonial Quarter to see if/when the next tea time is available! 


  1. Florence says

    Can’t wait for this experience in December.

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