It’s been several centuries since the English first began the tradition of serving tea as a welcome for visitors or for celebrating important occasions. Nowadays, demand for the herbal beverage is a fast-growing trend in the US — even though it’s more for the iced variety rather than hot tea.
That is changing though as more and more Americans are beginning to appreciate the “ritual” of Afternoon Tea.
“Tea has long been a passion of mine,” said Aimee Gans, co-owner of The Tilted Teacup Tea Room & Boutique in Brooksville. “It was always my dream to open a tea room with a vintage flair,” she said.
That opportunity came when her husband, John Gans, retired from the US Army after 20 years of service. The couple leased and renovated a small property on W. Fort Dade in Brooksville and together they launched their first tea room in 2012.
“I came from “tanks” to “teas” in a very short time,” laughed John Gans.
Their tea business became so successful that within 2 years they needed to expand.
But where to?
That’s when an opportunity arose to lease a much larger property. That property was the former Roger’s Christmas House located on Saxon Avenue, in the historic part of Brooksville. (Now Roger’s Christmas house occupies the space next door.) The couple did not hesitate but, once again, they had to totally renovate the property.
“It took us 7 months of really hard work to get it ready for opening in November of 2014,” said Aimee. “It was a huge job getting the place done and included replacing the electrical and plumbing systems.
“But we did it on time and I have to thank my father for overseeing a lot of that work,” she said.
Step inside the couple’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room & Boutique and be immediately charmed.
The property comprises two floors with 4 distinctly decorated rooms. Downton Parlour can accommodate 15 people; English Cottage 11 people and Grandma Helen’s room that can seat up to 12. Last of the rooms is the larger Secret Garden room that can seat up to 36 people.
There’s additional seating on the first floor and outside on the porch plus a charming boutique with a selection of tea products and accessories at the front entrance.
Drinking tea is thousands of years old, and practically every culture in the world partakes of it in some form or another. It appeals to all social classes regardless of whether you dunk a teabag or go for the more elaborate process involving warming the pot, using a tea-strainer, and observing strict etiquette.
But do not let anyone tell you it’s just a bunch of leaves stewing in a teapot.
John Gans is the official tea researcher and buyer. It’s a job he relishes.
“We offer 37 different blends of loose leaf tea,” he said. “We encourage our customers to taste the different blends and it’s my job to keep an eye on what teas are most favorable for our customers.”
The Tilted Teacup Tea Room always uses loose leaf tea when crafting the perfect cuppa so customers can enjoy the finest experience possible. Tea bags and the popular brands of tea have their place in our busy lives, but using loose leaf tea is definitely best for the Afternoon Tea ritual.
Some of the tea room’s signature teas include Brooksville Blueberry, Buckingham Palace and Florida Orange. There’s also Raspberry in Paris which Aimee describes as their favorite French tea. The Tilted Teacup also has a wide variety of increasingly popular white teas like Oasis Mango, green teas, Chai and Rooibos.
Along with its fine selection of loose leaf tea, the Tilted Teacup serves classic British tea room dishes — home-made scones with Devonshire cream and jam, dainty finger sandwiches and a wide variety of homemade desserts, presented beautifully and served on a 3-tier china cake stand. The freshly made soups and crustless quiches are particularly appetizing.
Lunches start at $9.95 per person; Afternoon Tea at $19.50 and High Tea at $22.50. Reservations are recommended to ensure seating.
“I really enjoy what I do. I am very lucky,” said Aimee.
The Tilted Teacup Tea Room has also become a very popular venue for their themed events. Each year, the Gans host at least 4 themed teas including one for Easter and Mothers’ Day.
It has its very own tribute to Downton Abbey. A Christmas event, Aimee and John, family members and staff, dress in Edwardian attire to serve their guests. Music, entertainment and backdrop photography makes the evening one to remember.
The next themed event is the 4th Annual Paris themed Valentines High Tea ‘A Beau-Tea-Ful Romance is Brewing.’ It will feature candlelit tables to horse and carriage rides down cobblestone roads and music. Dining includes our High Tea with a teacup of soup, 3 Petit-Fours desserts, an assortment of savories, scones with Devonshire cream and an unlimited pot of selected teas.
The Tilted Teacup Tea Room has built up a phenomenal reputation since its launch over two years ago. So much so, it has gained a coveted spot in Tea Time Magazine’s book of Teas and Savories. The 135-page book, published by Hoffman Media, offers steeping and pairing guides for tea, as well as more than 100 recipes for the savories course of a traditional afternoon tea, including the Tilted Teacup’s recipe for lemon-blueberry chicken salad.
For more information visit thetiltedteacup.com or call (352) 593-4111.
IF YOU GO
The Tilted Teacup Tearoom is located at 103 S Saxon Ave., Brooksville, FL 34601
Walk-ins are welcome
Reservations are available at 11 a.m. 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday -through Saturday
11am to 3pm
Walk-ins are welcome
Reservations are available for 11:00, 11:30, 1:00 & 1:30.
Emailing is only a request, we will reply with a confirmation
Let us know if you will be preordering High Tea or Afternoon Tea
or if you are celebrating a special occasion.