Melbourne may be Australia’s coffee capital, but before the rise of café culture, tea was the drink of choice, rumored to have landed here with the first fleet in 1788. Today, there are tea parlors here serving every blend conceivable, with sandwiches and scones. We list top spots at which to brew up.
Nestled within the Block Arcade is an opulent tea room which dates back to 1891 and is never without a queue of people peering, jaws agape, at the decadent display case stacked with cakes of every variety. Named after Lady Hopetoun, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms has been a Melbourne fixture since the late 19th century and features striking Victorian-era wallpaper. Open for breakfast, lunch and high tea, the tea room serves club sandwiches, pinwheels, shepherd’s pie and savoury waffles. Drinks include English and organic teas, as well as exotic varieties including green leaf, passionfruit, coconut, mango and black tea.
Inside the Emporium there’s a pastel dollhouse fit for a princess where tea and treats are served on fine China and the champagne is always flowing. The Tea Salon offers dainty, three-tiered high teas, casual brunches and a variety of scones, including lavender, rose, and salted caramel, as well as ribbon sandwiches and a children’s tea menu. The Tea Salon has 28 varieties of looseleaf tea on offer, ranging from flavoured black teas to herbal infusions, fruit blends and oolong.
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In between the numerous coffee shops located in Brunswick is a humble tea room with scores of loyal fans who return again and again for a taste of the custom tea blends at Impala & Peacock. The vision of tea sommelier Sarah de Witt, this Brunswick tea room serves artisan teas alongside a variety of sweets including vegan and gluten-free treats. Pop in and purchase one of 10 take-home packets or stay for high tea. There are also guided tea tastings, and the venue can be booked for bridal and baby showers.
The rustic décor of Impala & Peacock | Courtesy of Impala & Peacock
With over 60 tea varieties on offer ranging from black, white and green to herbal, fruit and oolong, the Oriental Teahouse has something for everyone and offers a genuine Chinese experience with a side serving of yum cha and dumplings. With three locations (Chapel Street in South Yarra, Little Collins Street in Melbourne and Chadstone Shopping Centre in Chadstone) the stores are modern while incorporating traditional red and gold décor; but if you’re in a rush, don’t fret: you can always buy their tea and brew it at home.
You’ll never be short of choice at Oriental Teahouse | Courtesy of Oriental Teahouse
Porcelain Tea Parlour
Melbourne is a fast-paced city where outings are rarely enjoyed without the buzz of social media, but at Porcelain Tea Parlour in Carlton, patrons are encouraged to slow down and switch off. This cozy hole-in-the-wall serves seasonal teas accompanied by sweets, including gluten-free macaroons and handcrafted chocolates, as well as cheese boards and Tamari almonds. Porcelain also provides puzzles, board games, colouring books and card games you can enjoy with friends or in solitude.