Finding time to gather with friends is always enjoyable, but when you add the ambiance of a true British tea house, it’s an absolute pleasure!
On a rainy Southern California morning, I had the opportunity to attend a themed tea tasting at Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea, hosted by Outlander SoCal Edition members Rhena and Stephanie.
Shakespeare’s is located at 3719 India Street in San Diego, California. It is owned by Selina Stockley, a delightful British woman. The shoppe is filled with souvenirs, clothing, British candy and food, plus a plethora of tea cups and cosies. Today’s article will give you a glimpse into this adorable store and its delectable teas.
“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
― William Ewart Gladstone
The shoppe may be small in size, but it is huge in inventory – but not to the point of being overwhelming or crowded. It was fun to peruse the merchandise, some of which was familiar and some that was totally foreign to me.
Of course, being a tea establishment, the selection of tea was extensive. Boxed teas and loose teas are available.
One section of the store had the Tea Sniff Bar where one can experience the aroma of the loose teas. A description is included on the bag that contains the tea for purchase.
In addition to Afternoon Teas, Shakespeare’s caters, and one can find ready-made baked goods and pastries, including scones and meat pies.
For those that prefer to cook or bake on their own, there is a collection of recipe books as well.
Plus, plenty of ready-to-make mixes, canned and boxed goods ready for purchase.
Our tea tasting event was set up on the patio, just outside the tea shoppe. While sitting and chatting at the quaintly decorated tables, the patter of raindrops made it seem as if we were in the dreich weather of Scotland. Tea sittings are held Monday through Friday on the hour and half-hour, beginning at 11:00 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, there are two tea sittings – 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The teas range from Cream Teas starting at $12.95 per person to full Afternoon Teas at $26.95 per person. For young ones, they offer Child’s Afternoon Teas with Harry Potter or Princess themes. The menu for Afternoon Teas vary each month. Several themed events are held on a regular basis. You can view the schedule of events here.
For today’s event, we had a menu of six different “character” teas to taste. The store carries a nice variety of book, television or movie character and celebrity inspired teas from Paddington Bear to Spice Girls.
Our server announced each tea before she poured it into our tea cups. Our first tea was called “Outlander” and, based on the menu, is created by “blending a variety of highland plants and Claire’s love for herbs. This mix reflects a bonny brew which calms and refreshes, with a touch of rose and sunflower petals to reflect their love story.”
Ingredients include chamomile, lavender, mint leaves, ginger, sunflower and rose petals. The chamomile and mint were the main flavors that I was able to distinguish.
Along with the tea, we were served a raisin scone with double clotted cream, strawberry jam and fresh fruit. The tables were set with fine English bone china. Each tea was served from a distinctive teapot.
Next we were served “James Bond” described as “an intriguing and mysterious tea blend.” It truly was intriguing with the mixture of vanilla, black tea, Scottish Caramel Pu-erh and rose petals. This one was one of my favorites, but I couldn’t decide which was tops between the “James Bond” tea or the “Harry Potter’s Butterbeer Tea” that followed.
In order to make the butterscotch flavoring in the “Harry Potter Butterbeer Tea,” they mixed cherry, almonds and chocolate. Those, along with black tea, rooibos, citrus peel and safflowers, made the tea sweet, yet smooth.
The tasting continued with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” There are quite a few ingredients: Ceylon black tea, milk and white chocolate, oranges, maple syrup, calendula petals, safflower, lemon balm, cocoa nibs, vanilla, cornflowers, soy – and just for Violet Beauregarde – blueberries! These blend very nicely without an overpowering chocolate flavoring.
“Alice – A Mad Hatter’s Tea” was delicious hot, and I can just imagine brewing it as iced tea on a sweltering summer afternoon. It’s fresh and fruity with black tea, rooibos, strawberries, cranberries, mango, pomegranate, pineapple, and calendula petals.
We ended the tea tasting with the 2% caffeine, white tea based “Mary Poppins.” The server introduced it as perfect for a nanny as it has an added burst of Vitamin C from rosehips amongst the guava, ginger, coconut and safflowers. It was recommended to top it off with a spoonful of sugar.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea. I plan to come back, bringing more girlfriends for a relaxing and delicious tea break. This would be a lovely establishment to visit with Mom or Grandma as well.
Purchasing some of your favorite teas will allow you to follow this piece of advice:
“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
― Bill Watterson,
Of course, we recommmend the book be any of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series books!
By joining in on one of the Special Event Teas or a weekday/weekend tea on the intimate patio could find you a few new friends.
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