On January 9, 2011 the first episode of Downton Abbey flashed onto television screens in the U.S. and in the past three years it has reached an astounding level of success. The British period drama has been showered with awards and has garnered the largest audience in 40-years for the PBS Masterpiece franchise. With these accolades also comes a boost to interest in tea.
Across the country tea events were planned to commemorate the premiere of Downton’s fourth season in January. A food truck made its way through the streets of New York serving tea and biscuits in advance of the first showing. In homes, inns, and other venues, guests attended tea parties in costume, talked about the show, and learned about the beauty of a good cup of tea. From a library in Wyoming to hotels in New York, the teas took many forms, but all a testament to just how many times a teacup is lifted at Downton. The Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I. has added a Gilded Age Tea Time that will be offered on weekends until the end of February, when the season finale airs. In addition to a month of Downton Abbey Afternoon Teas, Chicago’s Langham Hotel is offering a private screening room for twelve allowing guests to watch the show while eating an afternoon tea inspired by the show including lobster and tarragon pudding tartlets. If you want to enjoy Downton-inspired tea closer to home, there is also The Republic of Tea’s Downton Abbey tea line including English Rose, Grantham Breakfast Blend and Estate Blend. Perhaps you’ll sip wearing your “Keep Calm and Ring Carson to Bring Tea” shirt.