Cream Tea

Anathea Woirhaye square headshot
Anathea Woirhaye
November 10, 2022
Cream Tea

Okay, here’s something a little embarrassing. I love cream tea.

There might be an American equivalent, but at home, I don’t really go to coffee shops much. In England so far, it’s been a little hard to get my iced tea lattes, as most coffee shops just sell- well, coffee. I don’t like coffee, so I have had to make do. In London, I didn’t go to coffee shops to study too much because I didn’t like carrying my laptop around all day. It was so easy to get anywhere by the tube that if I needed to work, I could go back to my accommodations to work on my assignments. However, St. Catz is decently far from the places where I have lectures and the Bodleian Libraries, so I have found myself trying to find places that would be nice to study at so I don’t have to walk all the way back to my dorm. It was something I got when I was in London as well, but I have become a huge fan of cream tea. It looks different at most coffee shops, but essentially cream tea is a pot of tea, milk, and one or two scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. 

It’s so stereotypically British, I know. But there is something so fun about the experience of eating the scones and drinking the tea that appeals to me. I like pouring my own tea and adding the milk, watching the colour change from dark to light. I like cutting the scones and trying to figure out the best way to maximise the clotted-cream-to-jam ratio so I’m getting the most for what I pay. There are a plethora of little coffee shops in Oxford to visit to live your British main-character dreams. Here, I’ll share pictures from my cream tea experience at three Oxford tea shops and give my pros and cons, if I’m going to commit to being the American who gets cream tea when studying abroad in the UK.

The Rose

Pros- Lots of tea options, very cute decor, right across the street from the examination schools, you get a tea strainer which made me (a casual tea drinker) feel very fancy. 

Cons- Most expensive one i’ve visited, and they do not offer a student discount. The scones are kind of small. No milk provided in my visit, though that may have been because of the kind of tea I ordered.

Brunch Bar

Pros- Close to the buildings where I have had my History and Classics lectures. Located centrally between those buildings and the Bodleian, so I stopped here on my way from a lecture to the library.

Cons- Quite far from St. Catz, so if you’re going from campus, it’s a walk. I didn’t see any wifi, though I did not ask any staff members. The plates were strangely shaped, and I spilled crumbs on the table. The scones also had raisins in them, which I don’t like (though this could be a pro for you!)

Queen’s Lane

Pros- Apparently the oldest coffee house in Europe! Prompt service. The staff were all very nice and it was dark inside, but seemed to have a lot of outdoor seating. Very good scones. You can see University Church from the windows.

Cons- Usually quite busy, so it might be hard to get a table where you can enjoy the cream tea experience. 

Of course, these are all just my experiences of visiting each of these places once. For me, the experience of going out into the town to get some tea for myself, whether it’s after a class or during a chill study day, is worth the expense. After all, there is (probably) only one semester being an Oxford student, sipping tea and eating scones as I work on my studies. I might as well romanticise it. 

Anathea Woirhaye square headshot

Anathea Woirhaye

I’m a third year student at the University of Redlands, pursuing an alternative education through the Johnston Centre of Integrative Studies, and I am studying abroad at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. This essentially means that I design my own major, and instead of grades, I get written evaluations. I study History, Film, Literature, and Art. I’m deeply involved in the community, which means I love going to meetings and deciding policy! I love to sew costumes and clothes and to watch old movies with friends.

Destination:
Term:
2022 Fall
Home university:
University of Redlands
Hometown:
Whittier, CA
Major:
History
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