You don’t need a reason to book an afternoon tea. Nibbling on crumpets and sipping a steaming cup of tea is always a good idea in the winter. But January 12 just so happens to be National Hot Tea Day—a nice reminder to get a tea time reservation on the books. From a historic mansion with Victorian cartomancy (fortune telling through cards) to a chic and Instagram-worthy spot downtown, these six spots are among the best places to enjoy an afternoon tea in the Front Range. Pinkies up! 

High tea at TeaLee’s Teahouse and Bookstore in Five Points. Photo by Sarah Boyum

TeaLee’s Teahouse and Bookstore

At TeaLee’s Teahouse & Bookstore in the historic Five Points neighborhood, guests are encouraged to flow with the “Rhythm of Tea.” “Afternoon and high teas are most memorable when you allow yourself to be present, savor the signature quiche and custom tea trays tiered with sweet and savory bites, and let the sounds of neo-soul, R&B, and jazz sink into your spirit,” says Tyler Allen, an employee at TeaLee’s Teahouse. 

The tea house is meant to feel like a home away from home, serving guest favorites like a vegan barbecue sandwich and tea-infused cocktails. In the new year, Risë Jones, the owner of the teahouse, and her team, want to help the community set intentions around mindfulness and self care. To help patrons do just that, the teahouse plans to host a variety of events that are focused on wellness (keep an eye on its website for more details). Afternoon tea ($34.95 per person), and high tea ($38.95 per person) at TeaLee’s include tea sandwiches, scones, pastries, and a bottomless pot of tea—but the latter comes with some extra goodies from the chef. 611 22nd St. 

Babe’s Tea House is a colorful spot to enjoy tea and treats in Highland. Photo courtesy of Babe’s Tea Room

Babe’s Tea Room 

Allison Jannach believes that “a tea party is the ultimate indulgence” and her downtown tea spot is a testament to that. Babe’s Tea Room in Highland is bright and colorful, bursting with photo-worthy flower displays and serving as the ultimate antidote to a dreary winter day. Delectable treats, like strawberry shortcake scones with house-made lavender vanilla simple syrup, are on the menu. 

Babe’s also has an evolving assortment of loose leaf teas, currently totaling more than 75 varieties. Some favorites are a Coconut Custard Rooibos, which has sweet notes of caramel and white coconut and Earl Grey de la Crème with creamy vanilla. The afternoon tea ($40 per person; $25 per child) includes unlimited tea and a prix fixe menu with an assortment of savory tea sandwiches, scones, Scottish shortbread, homemade petit fours, and a French macaron—plus a trio of jam, homemade lemon curd, and Devonshire cream. 2401 15th St., Ste. 170

The Brown Palace Hotel

When you’re feeling fancy, the afternoon tea at downtown’s Brown Palace is a cherished Colorado tradition that’s worth putting on your pearls for and will make you feel like royalty. Hosted in the historic Atrium Lobby, guests can sip teas topped with Devonshire cream that’s shipped directly from England. The honey used for tea services, though, is hyper-local: It comes directly from the property’s rooftop bee colonies and you can buy some of the sweet stuff to take home. A grand piano sets the soundtrack and natural light streams through the stained-glass ceiling. Tea (starting at $50 per person) is served with scones, finger sandwiches, and a classic Brown Palace truffle. 321 17th St. 

The Lumber Baron Inn 

Lumber Baron Inna gorgeous Queen Ann Victorian (circa 1890) mansion in the Potter Highlands neighborhood of north Denverhosts afternoon tea ($30 per person) in its parlors. “You are transported back in time when you walk into this lovely building, which in days gone by was home to a local lumber baron and his large family,” says owner Elaine Britten Bryant. 

Here, enjoy traditional scones and crumpets with lemon curd, mixed berry jam, and clotted cream alongside unique teas, like Rose Earl Grey. To make tea time even more magical, add an experience with Britten Bryan, who reads a style of fortune-telling cards called Lenormand, a complex system that uses all 36 cards for every reading ($45 for 30-minute readings). The inn also has an in-house tarot reader, Sara Olive Sayad of the Conjuror’s Cauldron, for tea and tarot experiences (call 303-477-8205 for prices). 2555 W. 37th Ave. 

The Elizabeth Hotel 

The Elizabeth Hotel in Fort Collins has begun a new tea tradition with its high tea at Sunset Lounge, which will take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Sunday on its rooftop bar that shows off panoramic views of Old Town Fort Collins. Pianist Spencer Zweiful will play jazz music to accompany tea time, which includes artisan teas sourced from local purveyors and an assortment of sandwiches, scones, and desserts that change every week. The vibe? Classybut definitely not staunch ($45 per person). 111 Chestnut St., Fort Collins

The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. Photo courtesy of the Dushanbe Tea House

Boulder Dushanbe Tea House 

Given as a gift to Boulder from its sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the tea house is a symbol of friendship. It’s also an artistic masterpiece complete with a hand-painted ceiling that’s bursting with a kaleidoscope of colors. The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is both exotic and classic,” says  Sara Stewart Martinelli, owner and tea expert. “It’s a true experience to come into the decorative handcrafted interior and enjoy one of our 100 teas.” Afternoon tea service is done in the traditional English style, with a tiered tray of treats, both sweet and savory, as well as homemade clotted cream and lemon curd ($27 per person). The teahouse is also offering a once-a-month dim sum and oolong tea time ($30 per person). 1770 13th St., Boulder

Brittany Anas
Brittany Anas
Brittany Anas is a Denver-based food and travel writer.