Where to Drink Tea in Atlanta

Tea is no longer just iced or hot. Atlanta offers a variety of options. (📷 五玄土 ORIENTO)

The South is known for sweet tea – that is, black tea, brewed, mixed with water and sugar and served over ice. Sweet tea is as popular as ever in Atlanta. It even has morphed into a mixture, called Sunjoy, of half tea/half lemonade at Atlanta’s homegrown fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, and into frozen iced sweet tea at Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand. Atlanta’s favorite frozen treats stop, King of Pops, even sells a Thai iced tea pop. Rest assured, you can always get traditional sweet (or unsweetened) tea at most Atlanta restaurants.

You also can travel the hot tea route and celebrate a special occasion at high tea available at several local emporiums. In addition, Atlantans have become connoisseurs of flavored tea and Asian-influenced tea including bubble (or boba) tea and milk tea. Let’s read the tea leaves to find out exactly where in Atlanta to get tea for two or tea just for you.   

Traditional Sweet Tea

While it would be difficult to find an Atlanta restaurant that doesn’t offer sweet tea, here are a few places known for perfect iced sweet tea. (And, in nearly every case, they’ll also offer unsweet tea).

Busy Bee Cafe

An Atlanta staple for soul food and home-style cooking since 1945, Busy Bee Cafe has gained national attention both for its fried chicken and for Atlanta icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who have dined there. Among favorite Southern dishes, diners will always find sweet tea.

Where: 810 Martin Luther King Drive SW

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

An Atlanta institution since 1945, Mary Mac’s Tea Room serves Southern favorites such as pan-fried cube steak, fried chicken and fried chicken livers. Wash it down, of course, with iced sweet tea. 

Where: 224 Ponce de Leon Ave NE

The Colonnade Restaurant

A favorite for down-home cooking since 1927, you can count on getting sweet tea at The Colonnade. Try it with salmon croquettes or pot roast. 

Where: 1879 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

Paschal’s

Dating to 1947, Paschal’s favorites include Southern fried green tomatoes, pulled pork, catfish and collards. Sip your tea from a Mason jar.

Where: 180 Northside Drive NW

High Tea

Astor Court at the St. Regis Atlanta

Ahhh. Nothing beats a fancy tea, sometimes just for you. (📷 St. Regis Atlanta)

At Astor Court at the St. Regis Atlanta, choose from 12 kinds of tea. Munch on lemon poppy seed and violet scones. Savories might include roast turkey in a spinach wrap with brie, green goddess chicken salad, smoked salmon with creme fraiche, and caviar and cucumber sandwiches. Sweets could include linzer cookies, lemon blueberry tartlet or a salted caramel and chocolate cone.

Where: 88 West Paces Ferry Road NW

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Dr. Bombay’s offers high tea for 1 to 15 people or 16 to 20. With a nod to COVID, Dr. Bombay’s high tea is contactless in the piano parlor. That includes a private entrance, a restroom and a patio garden. In addition to the hot tea, snacks include an assortment of sandwiches, quiche, cakes and other baked goods. It’s all served on a vintage china tiered tray.

Dr. Bombay’s also offers a Picnic High Tea To Go. This includes, in each box, two sammies, a scone, jam and clotted cream, two desserts, a slice of quiche, two mini-cupcakes, napkin, tea bag, eco paper teacup, sugar, honey, spoon and hot water. Picnics come in biodegradable paper lunch boxes.

Where: 1645 McLendon Ave. NE

Just Add Honey Tea Company

Just Add Honey offers an Afternoon Tea Experience for small groups. Think birthdays, wedding events, bridal and baby showers. Or order a “ParTEA” in a take-home box.  

Where: 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE

Swan Coach House

Afternoon Tea at Swan Coach House starts with a cheese ring, scones and cheese straws. Choose four savories from an extensive list that includes assorted tea sandwiches, spanakopita, miniature quiches and miniature ham biscuits. Choose three choices of sweets from a list that includes sugar cookies, miniature dark chocolate brownies, cranberry cream cheese bars and key lime tartlets.

Where: 3130 Slaton Drive NW

Bubble (or Boba) Tea and Milk Tea

Taro (a native tropical plant in Southeast Asia) boba tea is a favorite. (📷 Joleen Pete)

Bubble tea, also called boba tea, essentially is made with your choice of sweetened tea to which you add milk and tapioca balls known as boba. This crazy popular drink — thank you Taiwan — begins to sound complicated if you are standing in a tea shop faced with choosing, first, from a wide variety of teas then from what sometimes seems an endless choice of flavors. Add to that your preferred milk (almond, low fat, fat free) and then find out you even have a choice of boba. While plain tapioca balls are the traditional boba pick, you also can select popping balls that literally pop open in your mouth, releasing whichever flavor you choose.

Milk tea, at its simplest, is tea with milk added. It gets a bit more complicated when you get to decide which tea and which milk. If that’s not enough to rattle your brain, hang on because there’s yet another menu item — cheese foam tea. This is green or black tea topped with foamy cream cheese, milk or whipping cream.

Confused? Let one of Atlanta’s popular tea hangouts help you decide.

Tea Corner

A short walk from the fabulous Fox Theatre, Tea Corner is home to brown sugar black tea boba. Feeling creative? Craft your own. First, choose black, oolong or green tea. Next, add tapioca boba or, if popping boba is your thing, pick yogurt, strawberry or mango. If you love tea but aren’t into bubbles, try mango green tea, guava black tea, strawberry arnie tea, passion fruit kiwi green tea or peach oolong tea.  Wait, what? You’re a milk tea aficionado? At Tea Corner, choose from Thai milk tea, matcha milk tea or oolong milk tea, to name three choices.     

Where: 620 Peachtree St. 

Ding Tea

Tea choices include top jin xuan tea, assam black tea, jasmine green tea and oolong tea. That’s pretty simple, but wait. Ding offers 15 choices of flavored tea, including peach, strawberry, mango and lychee. Boba options are cherry blossom crystal, strawberry and blueberry popping boba and crystal. Shhh. There’s a secret menu. Don’t tell, but two secret offerings are dragon fruit green tea and winter melon green milk tea. Speaking of milk tea, these options include top jin xuan milk tea and jasmine green milk tea, to name just two of the choices. Who knew tea could be so complicated?     

Where: 1000 Northside Drive

Honey Bubble

In addition to Asian teas, black and herbal flavored teas and Rooibos tea, Honey Bubble, no surprise, offer signature royal milk tea, with topping choices such as tapioca pearl and lychee pearl. You can choose the amount of honey you prefer and the amount of ice you want. If you order milk bubble tea, you have a wide range of flavor choices such as almond, coffee, caramel latte and 25 more. You also get numerous choices with clear bubble tea. Made up your mind yet?

Where: 798 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE

Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe

Remember cheese foam tea? Well, you can get it here. Choices are assam black cheese foam tea and also mango green, honey green, assam black or lychee black cheese foam tea. Sweet Hut has an extensive list of milk teas. Two of our favorites are creme brulee milk tea and peppermint milk tea. In a category labeled “healthy boost,” choices include brown sugar ginger root tea and dragon pearl jasmine tea. Sweet Hut is a bakery so you also can get a variety of foods there  

Where: 935 Peachtree St. NE

Unbelibubble

Unbelibubble does us a favor by listing customer favorites right up front. Surely that will help with decision making. A few of these are rose milk black tea, jasmine tea with milk cap and Thai milk tea with lychee jelly. Dig deeper into the menu and discover several choices of matcha, milk tea and brewed tea.

Where: Colony Square and 1235 Chattahoochee Ave. 

Where’s the Scoop

You can get bubble tea at this ice cream store. The shop’s bubble teas start with freshly brewed teas and hand-ground spices. Topping choices are: boba (black pearl/tapioca), crystal boba, strawberry popping pearls, mango popping pearls, peach popping pearls, passion fruit popping pearls, kiwi popping pearls and lychee jelly.

Where: 985 Monroe Drive NE

If you love tea and your best bud or partner prefers coffee, try one of these java shops. For more dining options, where tea undoubtedly is served, visit our dining guide.

 

Journalist Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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