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In addition to Shakespeare’s plays and gin, the biggest gift the United Kingdom has made to the world is the five o’ clock tea. A habit that, in old England, involves all ages and social classes. Why? Simple: teatime is a moment too pleasant to give it up, too easy to say no. This accessibility has led to the spread of many commercial teas, those from the supermarket shelf, so to speak.
But tea actually comes into being as valuable imported goods and in many ways it still is. The best are still those produced in Asia, in an amazing number of varieties. So amazing, in fact, that for those who want to enjoy tea as an ancient and refined ritual developed through the centuries would need to be guided, to go to a place where tea time is still the celebration of a solemnity. In short, a tea room.
Tea rooms abound in Milan. We have listed here the most beautiful (big or small, new or historic) and we hope that you too will one day desire to sit in front of a steaming cup and a friend and enjoy a couple of hours of complete relaxation .
Corso Magenta, 96
Dark walls, wooden counter, patterned floor and vintage decorations. The Bistrò 96 is like a small treasure chest in the city center. For your teatime, you will find the selection of Tea in Italy, a family-owned Italian company that offers tea and infusions from all over the world. And to accompany them, cakes, croissants, biscuits and honey madeleines that will make your head spin. And if you book in advance, the owner will set for you a classic English-style afternoon tea with sweet and savory appetizers and a glass of sparkling wine.
Corso di Porta Nuova, 1
This café-bistro plays a central role in the life of the magnificent Palazzo Parigi luxury hotel. It’s the culinary heart of the hotel, where guests and customers can experience first hand all the opulence of a high-end service from breakfast to dinner. The afternoon tea starts at five and lasts to seven, you can enjoy the best teas in the world accompanied by sandwiches, pastries and Ladurée’s inimitable macarons. Really the most luxurious afternoon tea in the city.
Via Montenapoleone, 8
Cova opened its doors in the first half of the nineteenth century as an elegant literary café on the corner of Piazza della Scala. Since then, those doors haven’t been closed for a moment. If you are the kind of people who want the endorsement of some celebrity to be sure of a bar’s quality, Cova has a big one in the group of its famous patrons: Giuseppe Verdi who,with a silk scarf around his neck, used to drink regularly his tea in the pastry parlors.
Piazza del Duomo, 12
A cup of Mariage Fréres tea sipped in a room of the Royal Palace leafing through one of the many exhibition catalogues, full of paintings and art? It seems like a dreamy afternoon but visiting Giacomo Caffè you will discover that, instead, it can be reality. Very central and beautiful, the café has a room on the first floor that during tea time becomes the dream of every lover of art, books and, of course, the most prized tea in the world.
La Teiera Eclettica
Via Melzo, 30
If tea is not a simple afternoon entertainment for you but you have decided to get serious, La Teiera Eclettica is a real tea dojo, where you can become real experts. In addition to being incredibly relaxing, your visits to this tea room will also prove instructive if you are willing to let you tell the details of the teas you are tasting. Behind the counter you will find real tea sommeliers who will help you choose it and prepare it with the utmost care.
Chà Tea Atelier
Via Marco D’Oggiono, 7
Gabriella Lombardi, the owner, worked in the advertising field before opening this delightful tea atelier, specialized in the sale of precious blends. Her passion is so great that, periodically, Gabriella goes to China to conduct her research. To date, Chà Tea Atelier has an inventory of 150 pure teas, including organic teas, from all over Asia and selected by the owner herself who is also the coordinator for Italy of Tea Masters Cup International and judge of international competitions.
Via Buonarroti, 9
A pastry shop opened in Milan since 1920, the Cremeria Buonarroti has a historic tea room, one hundred and twenty square meters large and capable of hosting about sixty people. But do not worry: even if the room is full your tea will remain a peaceful moment. In winter the air is brightened by the lit fireplace. The atmosphere that you’ll find yourself immersed in at the Cremeria will make you feel all the nostalgia for the golden Milan of days past. When you leave, finding yourself in the mortal world, you will wonder where you have just been. And you will come back for the next tea time.
Via Santa Maria, 21/A (Abbiategrasso)
If you are in the surroundings of Milan or want to spend an afternoon out of town, the Tête à Thé is definitely the place for you. This tea room is a true oasis of relaxation hidden between the characteristic streets of the historic center of the town of Abbiategrasso. Vaulted ceilings, exposed bricks, luxurious chandeliers. The atmosphere of this place is charming and timeless. The tea list is always updated and includes a hundred flavors, including herbal teas and infusions. If you are spoiled for choice and undecisive (and you will be), do not worry: the owners have plenty of advice to give and will happily come to the rescue.