Double Decker Digest

Tea at The Empress


Tea at the empress

Wanting to try tea at the Empress? Here is everything you’ll need to know!


Afternoon tea started with the seventh Duchess of Bedford. She had her cooks make her an afternoon tea tier. This then turned into a social gathering that Queen Victoria was interested in and brought it to the palace. The Empress recreated a social gathering atmosphere, people coming together being in a bustling tea room. Guests can now enjoy this experience in The Empress tea room on their trip to Victoria.

History of the china

The china that The Empress uses was gifted to the hotel in the 1930’s during a visit from King George the 6th. In the Late 90’s it was rediscovered and used for some time. About two years ago The Empress took the original patters and recreated brand-new finest bone china. So, when you enjoy tea it is the original patterns from the 1930s. With having this fine bone china there is about $300 dollars per person worth of china.

Afternoon tea

The Empress serves tea to about 80,000 guests a year. With saying this they need experienced staff serving tea, all the servers in the tea room have been there for at least three decades each.  Between 20-49 years, spending most of their working life in afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is a celebration. Sit, relax, and maybe have a glass of champagne if you wish. The Empress offers 21 different varieties of tea. Some of the teas are the highest quality in the world, they can cost up to $500 for one bag. All the teas come from the metropolitan tea company in Toronto. They supply the Empress with the top 5% teas of the world.

The most popular kind of tea is black tea, such as their 1907 orange pekoe. The servers try to explain as many of the teas as possible, so guests can experience something new. Guests like to stick with black tea, but some do experiment with teas such as the madame butterfly jasmine, which is a green tea layered with jasmine flowers, it has an unbelievable jasmine aroma. It will change your entire perception of what tea is, and what it is supposed to taste like.

Times and schedule

Tea is served from 11 am until 5:45 pm during the summer, and throughout the winter tea is served from 11 am until 3:45 pm. A reservation is required to enjoy tea at The Empress. It is recommended that you make a reservation the minute you decide you want to have tea as reservations fill up quickly, especially through the summer months. The Empress serves tea 365 days a year. 


Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a warm cup of tea. During the winter specifically Christmas, the Empress offers a winter tea and a winter meal. This includes warmer items as opposed to cold items. It is a perfect way to warm up in the cold months.

Local ingredients

In the past 2-3 years, the Empress has changed the food production and quality. The hotel has decided to have BC local or organic ingredients. The bread that they use is from a local bakery, the meat is from Glenwood Meats in Langford, and most of the vegetables come from local farming projects. All pastries are handmade in house. The Empress has never had anyone with dietary restrictions that they could not accommodate.


The Empress is the only place in Victoria that is serving Veuve Clicquot Rose 118. Which is an amazing rose that is paired perfectly with the three tired pastries and sandwiches.

We would like to thank Christian Elsing the Lobby Lounge manager for sitting down with us.