A Tea-riffic New Jersey Tea Room | High SocieTea
I've been to High SocieTea a number of times over the years.
My grandmother first introduced me to this tea room. We would get together during the winter for tea with aunts and cousins, neighbors and close friends.
I have positive memories of my time spent at High SocieTea. Though it had been a number of years since I returned.
Feeling sentimental from my last post, I decided to make a reservation and see if High SocieTea was as I remembered. (Spoiler: it was!)
High SocieTea | The History
High SocieTea is in a historic building located in "Old Wayne." Dating back to 1895, the building used to be the first post office for the area.
Now the house has been converted into a charming tea room. Step onto the front porch and view the handmade, tea-inspired wind chimes and outdoor decorations.
Tea-Themes & Vintage Design
What I also love about most tea rooms is the vintage decorations and antiques. High SocieTea also has an inviting interior design.
When you first enter High SocieTea, you're in their gift shop and counter area.
In the entrance, you can purchase pieces of tea sets, tea-themed gifts, cards and more. On the left, tall displays separate the entrance from the dining room.
I visited High SocieTea on a stormy, rainy day. Normally the front windows of the building let in bright, natural light. But since it was cloudy the room photographed in warm, cozy colors.
Around the display, the dining room has 10 tables, some circular, some rectangle. They can seat anywhere from 2-6 people. Tables are pushed together for larger parties.
Each table has a thick tablecloth and glass top. Mismatched teacups, saucers, and plates wait at each spot. A container of raw sugar cubes (which look like croutons), a tea strainer, and metal cutlery also line the plates.
The walls are light yellow and textured with paint to look like brick. Decorative signs, artwork, and tea-themed items (like lamps made of teacups), hang around the room for purchase.
I chose a weird time of day, in between the two seatings. We had the entire tea room to ourselves.
Reservations/seatings take place from 11-2 and 2-6 so that guests can take their time and enjoy the tea room.
Our table was in the center of the room, nearby the fireplace mantle. The room was decorated with fake arrangements of spring flowers, which (my photo doesn't do it justice), were welcoming and pretty.
In the wintertime, the flowers are replaced with lights, tinsel, and an upside-down Christmas tree.
The blue in this tea set caught my eye as I crossed the room. I loved the gold detail throughout the china.
The other tea sets on the table were also pretty. One was a brighter blue with details inside the cup, and the other was a green and white leaf pattern. We each received our own teapot with a tea-warmer.
The High SocieTea Menu
There are two menus on the table. The larger menu is a three page, front-and-back tea menu. It is organized based on tea type, such as black teas, oolong, and tropical.
The single-page menu is the list of tea-courses you can order, for example, high tea, Queen's tea, the children's tea, etc.
Each type of tea allows you to get a pot of tea, and then a choice of the savories/pastries you want.
The tea that I order, because I'm a foodie and that's what I've ordered for my whole life, is the Queen's tea. At some tea rooms, this is also called "High Tea."
This is the tea menu that gives you a pot of tea, plus every available food option.
My Favorite Teas
As for the type of tea I drink, I prefer black teas (which are usually caffeinated), or I order the specialty teas. My go-to teas are usually vanilla or caramel flavored.
High SocieTea, like many tea rooms, offers specialty blends. These are usually available seasonally or monthly before rotating to a new set.
After you have time to review the menu, the server will bring you the three featured teas in small cups. The server will describe the tea's ingredients and let you smell them, so you can get an idea of the flavor.
This is what makes tea rooms so special. You can see the ingredients in the tea.
Tea you buy in the store isn't guaranteed to use whole ingredients. In fact, if you've ever looked at certain store-bought teas, the ingredients are such a fine pulp, you would never know what you're drinking.
For my teapot, I chose the specialty black tea. It was black tea with bananas, white chocolate chips, and almonds. I am not a fan of almonds, but this tea smelled like the vanilla tea I've tried before (and loved), so that's why I tried it. It was perfect.
My family members ordered the mango tea and the peach-apricot tea from the menu. Though the other two specialty teas offered more citrus/tropical flavors, such as pomegranate and strawberry.
Course 1 | Tea & Quiche
The server fills your teapots first. According to our server, black teas only need 3 minutes to steep. Other teas steep 5 minutes before drinking. I find that by the time I get to the bottom of my teapot, the tea has the best flavor.
With the Queen's tea, the first course is a slice of quiche with a soup or salad. I ordered the quiche and the salad.
This was a good size slice of quiche. What I so appreciate is that it was piping hot. I could tell by the fluffy texture and the way it cut that this quiche was recently prepared.
The quiche had cheddar and broccoli throughout and was crustless (which is just the way High SocieTea makes their quiches, so technically it was more like an egg-pie).
Broccoli and cheddar cheese is a classic pairing. The addition of broccoli also added some texture to the dish. I would've liked some pepper in it, but overall the texture and freshness were satisfying.
The salad was amazing.
Salads don't normally impress me but this was delicious. It had mixed greens with walnuts, feta cheese, fresh strawberries, and a blueberry-acai vinaigrette.
Course 2 | Scones
As you know from my blueberry scone recipe, I could eat scones 24/7.
High SocieTea is known for having fabulous caramel scones.
What was a surprising addition to the scone course was their lemon poppy seed scone. I had never had this scone at High SocieTea and was glad for the unique addition.
Both scones come with a cup of clotted cream and lemon jam. Now, the name "clotted cream" isn't the most appetizing description, but it is an amazing addition to a hot-from-the-oven scone.
Clotted cream is a thickened heavy cream, like a denser whipped cream, that is made by heating the cream and then allowing it to cool. Adding it to the caramel scone is my favorite. I could eat the whole cup myself.
The caramel scone is a softer, less crumbly scone than the ones I made. Melted caramel chips are spread throughout. It has the traditional drier, scone top.
The poppy seed scones (at first) appeared to be more savory. These scones did have a bit of lemon in them, which added a bright flavor, more fitting for tea.
If you love lemon, you can add the lemon "jam" to the poppy seed scone.
I say "jam" loosely because this is not as thin as a lemon sauce and not as thick as a jelly, but it isn't lemon preserves.
It is delicious and has a smooth texture, echoing the flavor from the lemon in the scone.
Course 3 | Savories & Pastries
A three-tiered holder is placed on the table. Each course uses a tier. After the scones, a plate of savory finger-sandwiches and another plate of pastries arrive.
Some tea rooms give each individual their own tiered holder. High SocieTea combined everything into one tier, which saved us some space on our table.
What I was impressed with, is how they've evolved their third-course recipes. For the savory items, there were:
- A classic | Cucumber, cream cheese and chives on white bread
- Tuna fish on whole wheat bread
- A pinwheel of ham and cheddar cheese
- New (for me) | A peach and arugula flatbread
- New | A mango-pepper salsa phyllo dough cup
Since this is a tea room, remember that the savories are miniature (about the size of a quarter or two). It allows you to get a taste of different textures and flavors, but it's not a meal.
My favorite flavor combination was the mango-pepper cup. The mango was bright and meaty, and the peppers added a pop of spice.
The classic cucumber sandwich was lovely. It was light, airy, and well-balanced. I also enjoyed the flatbread, which had a chewy bread drizzled with a sweet sauce, topped with some peach and arugula.
The pastries on rotation for this month/season was:
- Key lime pudding tart
- Shortbread cookie
- Chocolate brownie
I'm not a fan of key lime as a flavor. I did try a piece of the tart's crust (which is crunchy and light). Our server said they make all of their food items on site, which is impressive.
The shortbread cookie was spectacular. I was reminded of the snowball Christmas cookies while eating it — buttery, crumbly, with sweet powdered sugar. I could've eaten 50.
I loved the brownie too since it was fudgy and not cakey.
Course 4 | Plated Dessert
Yes, can you believe I ate all this food?
Normally the plated dessert is a bowl of ice cream or a piece of cake or pie. This time, the plated dessert was a cobbler.
You have the option of taking any leftovers from your previous courses home. The server asks at this point if you want the fourth course wrapped. (We didn't).
I love the vintage plates all of the desserts came out on. High SocieTea does a great job of presenting everything.
The cobbler cups were adorable. I'm glad we ate ours there. It was warm and gooey, with a denser filling and chunks of fruit.
Our server let us sit and finish our tea as she set the room for the next reservations. In total, we spent about 2 hours from start-to-finish, which is about average for a tea room experience.
Have you been to High SocieTea?
Whether you're looking for a bridal shower location, birthday party for the kids, or a location where you can sit and catch up with friends, High SocieTea is the tea room to visit.
Their vision of focusing on the classic tea room experiences and emphasizing time spent on conversation, is everything I love about food and traditions.
Have you been to High SocieTea before? Is there another tea room I should try? Tell me about it in the comments!