Local businesses participate in The Art of Taking Tea

The Lightner Museum will be hosting an evening of education and entertainment on Wednesday May 10, 2017, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the Lightner Museum’s Historic Pool Area, where participants will learn about the development and social customs of “taking tea” while enjoying period-correct food and service.

The event will be presented by Lightner Museum Educator and Program Coordinator Elizabeth Graham in coordination with the Cafe’ Alcazar. The Garden Club of St. Augustine will assist in educating participants on the proper methods of setting a table and decorating with flowers for such occasions. Teas will be featured from local purveyor Cultivate Tea & Spice Co.

“In order to take tea properly, one must be educated on the subject of tea and all of the social customs involved,” Graham told local Historic City News reporters this morning. “This tea and lecture will help to prepare participants for proper afternoon English teas.”

Whether afternoon, high, or a working-class dinner tea, the social structures, customs, and etiquette related to “taking tea” have evolved over the centuries; beginning in China in 2737 B.C. when some tea leaves fell into the Emperor’s boiled drinking water.

This fall “Dressing Downton” is coming to the Lightner Museum, and Cafe’ Alcazar will be hosting daily afternoon teas during the exhibition. The British are credited for their tea drinking finesse. They have been consuming tea for the past 350 years and now it is a daily part of the British way of life.

“I have been traveling the southeastern United States visiting various tea houses and I am very excited to bring a similar experience to patrons of Cafe’ Alcazar and to St. Augustine,” Sean Thompson, Manager of Café Alcazar, said.


The Lightner Museum is a non-profit cultural institution sustained by the generous support of individuals, businesses, and sponsors. A donation of $50 per person for the May 10th Art of Taking Tea event includes an array of teas, tea sandwiches, scones, and cakes. Champagne may be purchased for an additional $5 per glass.

More information is available about “The Art of Taking Tea”, Cafe’ Alcazar’s English Afternoon Teas beginning this fall, Cultivate Tea & Spice Co., and the Garden Club of St. Augustine.  The Art of Taking Tea is funded in part by the Tourist Development Council of St. Johns County and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

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