When I moved to America I thought I’d never get to have a British cream tea ever again. Then Dubuque decided to throw out one better, a FULL English Afternoon Tea experience at the Inspire Cafe in the historic Millwork District! The Afternoon Tea tradition dates back to the 1800s. They usually include: a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, cake and scones (cream teas are smaller and only have scones and tea). When my American family came over for our wedding in the UK, we took them to a tea room for an English Cream Tea and we even served it at our wedding reception!
Disclosure: Thank you to Sara and the Inspire Cafe for hosting my English Afternoon Tea. As always, opinions are my own.
The tea selection at the Inspire Cafe is literally incredible. All the options are organic and fair-trade. With the Afternoon Tea, there’s a choice of 8 different teas on offer, ranging from black, green and herbal. Each one is displayed on a little card, telling you about the flavour and the best way to prepare it.
I highly recommend the Moroccan Jasmine Mint tea. After each sip I couldn’t help but go ‘Ahhhh so good!’ The staff were excellent and constantly kept our teapots filled during our visit and allowed us to try as many different flavours as we wanted! Most of the teas are available in boxes for purchase.
In true Afternoon Tea tradition, the food is served on a 3 tier stand. The top tier had a selection of bite sized cakes. We were served: cheesecake bites, strawberry and lemon curd tarts and Betty Jane Candies chocolate truffles.
The middle tier was scones. Currant and lemon & ginger with fig jam and cream. Scones often look like an American ‘biscuit’ (which is not actually a biscuit to my UK readers!) but are sweet like a cake…you definitely wouldn’t want to put sausage gravy on a scone!
The bottom tier had 4 different types of finger sandwiches! Apple Turkey, BLT, Egg Salad on marble rye bread and cucumber & tomato. The attention to detail in the presentation is amazing!
Afternoon Tea Information
English Afternoon Tea is served between 2-5pm, on the last Sunday of each month by reservation only and costs $25 per person ($15 for the child version).
You can pay extra for a glass of champagne (+$7) or a Mimosa *note* not an indian dish like I first thought, in the UK we call it Bucks Fizz! (+$8)
Mother’s Day Special
This year, on Sunday 14th May, the Inspire Cafe are holding TWO Mother’s Day Special Afternoon Teas, on top of the regular end of the month Tea. One will be held from 10am at the Dubuque Arboretum and then a second at their location in the Millwork District between 2-5pm.
In the UK, lots of garden centres have coffee shops that serve Afternoon Tea. So celebrating in this way is a very ‘British’ thing to do! It is something me and my Mum did together before I emigrated!
About Inspire Cafe and the Millwork District
The area where the Inspire Cafe is located used to be a milling factory that created wooden window frames and doors, a huge industry once upon a time in Dubuque. The old factory was renovated and is now home to eating establishments, shops, non profit organisations and apartments.
The Inspire Cafe is a coffee, tea and wine bar that also has a bakery and serves all day breakfast, salads, soups, sandwiches and pizzas. They also have various events and live music throughout the month.
For more information check out: www.inspire-cafe.com or call 563-583-8338
Have you ever experienced an English style Afternoon Tea?