January 24, 2017

Afternoon Tea in Washington, DC - The Willard InterContinental

I used the above photo of First Lady Michelle Obama, Prince Harry of Wales, and Dr. Jill Biden to illustrate my DC Area Tea Bucket List. This Official White House Photograph was taken by Lawrence Jackson. The original caption is "First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, Prince Harry of Wales, and Jill Biden help military children create Mother's Day cards and other crafts in the State Dining Room of the White House on 9 May 2013. The children presented the gifts to their mothers during the Joining Forces Military Mother's Day Tea in the East Room."

I've been thinking about my tea experiences in the DC area. I wrote about Da Hong Pao and dumplings at Ching Ching Cha Teahouse in Georgetown, about my introduction to Misty Peak Tea mao cha at Paper & Tea also in Georgetown, about matcha at the House of Steep in Arlington, about a private tea tasting of Capital Teas at their Mosaic District tea bar, and about the Ceylon Tea Festival at the Embassy of Sri Lanka. I have not shared my DC afternoon tea experiences. I think the best afternoon tea in Washington, DC would have been one with First Lady Michelle Obama. Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to drink tea with her. I'll brag here and say that I was once in the same room with both President Obama and Mrs. Obama. The President shook my hand!

Where did I go for afternoon tea in DC? Peacock Alley at the Willard InterContinental, the All Hallow's Guild Tea & Tour at the National Cathedral, and the Ritz-Carleton in Pentagon City, Virginia. My mum and I celebrated an early Mother's Day at the Willard; my husband and I shared tea after a tour of the cathedral; and I had a solo outing to the Ritz. In Part 1 of this three part series, I will describe tea time at Peacock Alley at the Willard InterContinental.

Peacock Alley Tea at the Willard InterContinental

The Willard serves Ronnfeldt Tea. I chose the Pai Mu Tan Silver Typ [sic] and my mum chose the Ginger & Herb Tisane. On the current tea menu, the white tea I ordered is listed as Pai Mu Tan & Melon. The first couple of cups from my pot were good but the leaves had not been removed from the pot so the final cup was oversteeped. Our server offered to add hot water to the pot but the leaves had lost much of their flavor at that point. My mum enjoyed her tisane.

When I made the reservation I asked for egg, fish, and vegetable sandwiches only. We were served four savories: double decker salmon sandwich, shrimp tart, cucumber rollup, and pear on toast. The salmon was tangy and the bread moist. The shrimp was savory but the crust was too firm. The cucumber was refreshing! The pear toast tasted like apple pie.

The scones, vanilla and chives, were not served warm but they were moist.

There were five desserts and I wrote "good!" next to three of them. They were the raspberry mousse topped with pistachios, the chocolate cup, and the chocolate mousse. There was also a raspberry tart and a strawberry cheesecake presented in a tall glass.

I was glad to share afternoon tea with my mother. We really liked the desserts, and discretely observing other tea parties. I appreciated the little details of this afternoon tea at Peacock Alley such as the handwritten name tag on our table.


  1. Whaatt!!? When did you get to meet the Obamas!? I can't believe you've shaken his hand! Looks like a lovely experience...love that gold and white teacup!

    1. Isn't the teacup pretty?!
      My husband worked for the White House last year and we attended an office party which the Obamas made an appearance. The president praised the work of the Executive Office teams. Then he and Mrs. O shook hands with guests. I stood on tip toes and reached my arm through the crowd for a handshake.


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