Discovering the Essence: A Tour Through Brighton’s Finest Tea Shops


Brighton, renowned for its vibrant culture and scenic seaside, has always been a hub of creativity and leisure. Amidst the lively streets and bustling markets, one finds the quintessential charm of tea shops, where the aroma of freshly brewed teas entices passersby. In this article, we embark on a journey through time to explore the best tea shops that graced the streets of Brighton in the 18th century.

The Royal Tea Emporium:

Nestled in the heart of Brighton’s old town, The Royal Tea Emporium stands as a beacon of sophistication and refinement. Established in the early 1700s, this tea shop exudes an air of aristocracy, catering to the elite clientele of the era. The interior, adorned with plush velvet draperies and ornate chandeliers, transports patrons to an era of opulence.

The Royal Tea Emporium boasts an extensive collection of teas sourced from distant lands, ranging from delicate green teas to robust black blends. Patrons can indulge in traditional English afternoon tea, served with an assortment of delectable pastries and finger sandwiches. The shop’s renowned blend, the “Brighton Royale,” is a harmonious combination of Assam and Darjeeling teas, crafted exclusively for discerning connoisseurs.

A Legacy of Luxury:

Founded by the esteemed Earl of Brighton, The Royal Tea Emporium embodied the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Its opulent façade, adorned with intricate carvings and gilded accents, beckoned patrons to step into a world of indulgence and extravagance. Within its walls, patrons were greeted by the soft strains of chamber music and the gentle clink of fine china, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience.

The Art of Tea:

At the heart of The Royal Tea Emporium lay a dedication to the art of afternoon tea. Behind its polished counters, a vast array of teas awaited exploration, sourced from the far corners of the globe. From the delicate nuances of Chinese green teas to the robust flavours of Indian Assam, each blend was meticulously selected to satisfy the most discerning palates.

Mrs. Abernathy’s Tea Parlour:

For those seeking a quaint and charming ambiance, Mrs. Abernathy’s Tea Parlour offers a delightful retreat from the bustle of city life. Founded by the esteemed Mrs. Eleanor Abernathy in 1723, this tea shop exudes warmth and hospitality, welcoming patrons with its cosy interior and floral accents.

The highlight of Mrs. Abernathy’s Tea Parlour is its selection of herbal infusions and medicinal teas, carefully curated to promote well-being and relaxation. From soothing chamomile to invigorating peppermint, each brew is thoughtfully prepared to rejuvenate the body and soul. Patrons can also enjoy Mrs. Abernathy’s signature scones, served warm with clotted cream and homemade preserves.

The Tea Merchant’s Guild:

Steeped in tradition and heritage, The Tea Merchant’s Guild stands as a testament to Brighton’s rich maritime history. Founded in 1765 by Captain Nathaniel Smythe, a seasoned merchant seafarer, this tea shop specialises in exotic blends procured from distant ports of call. The interior reflects Captain Smythe’s seafaring adventures, adorned with nautical artefacts and vintage maps.

At The Tea Merchant’s Guild, patrons can embark on a sensory voyage, exploring the diverse flavours of teas from across the globe. From the robust Assam teas of India to the fragrant jasmine teas of China, each brew tells a story of distant lands and ancient traditions. The shop also offers tea-tasting sessions, allowing enthusiasts to expand their palate and deepen their appreciation for the art of tea.

The Green Leaf Tea House:

Tucked away in a quaint alleyway, The Green Leaf Tea House beckons tea aficionados with its serene ambiance and minimalist decor. Established by Master Tea Blender Samuel Green in 1789, this hidden gem has garnered a loyal following among locals and travellers alike.

The Green Leaf Tea House prides itself on its commitment to quality and craftsmanship, hand-selecting the finest tea leaves from trusted estates. Patrons can savour the nuanced flavours of single-origin teas or indulge in artisanal blends created by Master Green himself. The shop also offers tea workshops and demonstrations, providing insights into the time-honoured techniques of tea cultivation and preparation.


1. What are the best tea shops in Brighton?

Brighton boasts a plethora of exceptional tea shops, each offering its own unique ambiance and selection of teas. Some of the top-rated tea shops in Brighton include The Royal Tea Emporium, Mrs. Abernathy’s Tea Parlour, The Tea Merchant’s Guild, and The Green Leaf Tea House.

2. What types of tea can I expect to find in Brighton’s tea shops?

Brighton’s tea shops pride themselves on offering a diverse range of teas to cater to every palate. You can expect to find traditional black teas, fragrant green teas, soothing herbal infusions, exotic blends, and more. Many tea shops also offer specialty teas sourced from renowned tea estates around the world.

3. Do Brighton’s tea shops serve food as well?

Yes, most tea shops in Brighton offer a selection of delectable treats to complement your tea experience. From classic afternoon tea fare such as sandwiches, scones, and pastries to light snacks and desserts, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your appetite while enjoying your favourite brew.

4. Can I purchase tea to take home from Brighton’s tea shops?

Absolutely! Many of Brighton’s tea shops offer a curated selection of loose-leaf teas and tea accessories for purchase. Whether you’re looking to restock your pantry with your favourite blend or explore something new, you’ll find an array of teas available for sale to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

5. Are reservations required for afternoon tea at Brighton’s tea shops?

While reservations are not always required, it’s highly recommended, especially during peak hours and weekends. Making a reservation ensures that you’ll have a table reserved for your party and guarantees that you won’t miss out on the tea shop’s renowned afternoon tea experience.

In a city brimming with charm and character, Brighton’s tea shops offer a glimpse into the past while celebrating the enduring appeal of tea culture. From the lavish elegance of The Royal Tea Emporium to the cosy intimacy of Mrs. Abernathy’s Tea Parlour, each establishment holds a unique allure, inviting patrons to embark on a sensory journey through the world of tea. As we bid adieu to these timeless establishments, let us raise a cup to Brighton’s enduring legacy as a haven for tea enthusiasts throughout the ages.

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