Where to Drink Tea in Philadelphia
Where to sip a quiet cup, get fancy with high tea, or stock up on the best loose leaves to brew at home.
Great coffee is everywhere you go in Philadelphia (even at Wawa). But tea, its cousin with a subtler, laid-back vibe, doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
Luckily, the city boasts a handful of dedicated tea shops and tea-centric cafes — plus some exceptional coffee spots doing tea right — that are brewing unique international varieties and caffeine-free tisanes with locally-grown medicinal herbs. We’ve even got some tony spots doing traditional afternoon high tea, complete with finger sandwiches and pastries, for when you’re feeling fancy. These are some of the best spots for tea in Philadelphia.
For brewed tea
Jezabel’s Studio, Spruce Hill
Restaurateur Jezabel Careaga didn’t just build the furnishings (and many of the items) available in her West Philly tea house and retail space — she also blends her own teas, from Argentinian mate to herbal mixes sourced from local farm Barefoot Botanicals.
Random Tea Room, Northern Liberties
Rebecca Goldschmidt’s cafe serves a deep list of teas from around the world (including house-blended varieties you can take home). But the eclectic space also hosts art exhibits, massage therapists, and, in the warmer months, live shows in its expansive backyard.
Tea Leaf, Market East
This tiny stand in Reading Terminal can feel like an oasis of calm in the market’s hustle and bustle. Hit up owner Lynette for a soothing cup of ginger tea the next time you’re feeling poorly, or get her advice on her favorite varieties and instructions for how to best brew loose tea at at home.
Prince Tea House, Chinatown
The NYC-based chainlet has entered the Philly market with imported blends, chandeliers, tufted leather, purple crepes and so. many. flowers. everywhere.
Ray’s Cafe and Tea House, Chinatown
Warm up with a bowl of noodle soup and one of Ray’s Taiwanese tea varieties, from oolong to charcoal-roasted black tea.
La Colombe, Everywhere
Philly’s iconic coffee roaster might focus on coffee, but they also put thought into their tea blends, hiring local tea consultant and writer Alexis Siemons of Teaspoons & Petals to curate their house line of teas and tisanes.
In addition to their much-Instagrammed Lebanese chai latte (made with orchid powder and topped with pistachios and rose petals), Suraya serves a tight selection of teas to go along with your kouign amann.
Rival Bros. Coffee, Center City, Graduate Hospital, East Passyunk
While just about every third-wave coffee outfit in Philly is roasting their own beans, very few have put the same thought into their tea selection. Rival is the exception, with their own line of teas from a bracing breakfast blend to keemun to masala chai.
A Cup of Tea, Chinatown
In addition to being one of the best places in the city to sip some cheese tea (also known as milk foam tea), this cute cafe keeps a fresh stock of loose-leaf options on hand for your sipping pleasure.
Steap and Grind, Fishtown
This Frankford Avenue cafe run by the daughter of Premium Steap owner Peggy Stephens does coffee, bites, and, of course, boasts an impressive selection of tea — available brewed for you or to make at home.
For loose tea
House of Tea, Queen Village
This second-generation tea shop offers hundreds of varieties for your brewing pleasure, along with gear traditional Yixing clay teapots, from its South 4th Street storefront.
Premium Steap, Market East
Despite relocating to a third-floor spot near 13th and Race a few years ago, this Best of Philly-winning tea seller is still Center City’s go-to for loose-leaf teas, whether you’re a beginner or a connoisseur.
Cuttalossa, Old City
This sweet 2nd Street spot for home textiles stocks a selection of quality leaves from Athena Teas as well as urban-grown herbal blends from Philly-based Terra Luna Herbals.
For high tea
Mary Cassatt Tea Room, Rittenhouse
The Rittenhouse Hotel is a fancy place — so fancy that they serve traditional high tea from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. every day. The signature menu includes a flight of international and locally sourced loose leaf teas plus tea sandwiches, scones, and petite sweets for $55. For an even fancier afternoon, add a glass of Veuve Clicquot rosé champagne for $25 more.
The Dandelion, Rittenhouse
Stephen Starr’s Anglo-centric pub does daily tea service from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., with a variety of “tea tiers” (those charming multi-level serving towers) stacked with savory sandwiches and bites or pastries and other sweet treats. Pair one with a pot of tea or one of their boozy tea cocktails.
The Painted Teacup, Upper Darby
This Victorian home has been converted into a cozy, quiet spot to slip in for a warming cup during the day. But you can also reserve their 30-person first floor space or one of the upstairs tea rooms for a more intimate high tea party, complete with sandwiches and sweets made in-house.
Fork, Old City
From time to time, Fork does high tea service on the weekends — a selection of sweet and savory treats plus your choice of single-origin teas, blends, and tisanes from the Rival Bros. house line for $45, with the option to add booze or bubbly. Scheduling is announced via Instagram, so follow along.
Oliver & Company Tea Room, Various locations
Tea sommelier Brenda Board has operated Oliver & Company in various spots around the city (most recently on East Passyunk) since 1992. For now, she’s holding monthly tea pairing pop-ups at historic homes around the city — follow to find out when and where the next one will be.