It’s time for tea: The quaint German town of Augusta, Missouri, is getting a British twist with its very own Botanical Tea Room.
Owners Dennis and Penelope Woodhouse decided to relocate their popular tea room from St. James to Augusta because they wanted to be more readily accessible to their guests. "Everyone loved afternoon tea, but we had a lot of feedback that we were not very accessible in the forest," Penelope says. "We love St. James and the farm, but it’s not an ideal business site because it’s so remote. We figured we could have the best of both worlds – a private retreat and be in the town of Augusta. We joke that we always wanted to live in the city, but the town of Augusta only has about 250 residents."
Botanical Tea Room was previously located on the couple's 76-acre sustainable agriculture site, the Vintage Homesteader Farm. They closed on their new building this month and plan to open at the new location in December during Augusta’s German festivities. In particular, Dennis and Penelope say they were drawn to Augusta's German heritage, wineries, charming bed-and-breakfasts and sense of community.
At its new location, Botanical Tea Room will still be a small, "catfish and hushpuppy" eatery, but will look more like a traditional restaurant. Fans needn't worry, though – the charm of eating a fresh, warm scone right out the oven in the countryside will still remain. Afternoon tea will remain a cornerstone at Botanical Tea Room, and guests can expect to see delicate patterned china, fresh ingredients, edible flowers, tea and cheese pairings, and potentially special tea ceremonies – all with a healthy, sustainable, botanical twist.
When it comes to the menu, the main focus is to educate guests on sustainable agriculture, from the tea to the treats. Everything is fresh, organic and vegetarian, whether it’s the scones, tarts, pastries, delicate cakes or tea sandwiches. Expect to see menu items including lavender scones, a cucumber sandwich on housemade bread, an egg salad sandwich and an open-faced toast with radish, edible flowers and microgreens.
The new location will also offer a more robust educational experience for guests, including tea and cheese pairings and tea classes. "Tea is an agricultural product, [although] people might not think about how tea leaves are grown," Penelope says. "In our search to be sustainable with where we source team from, we learned that there is such a thing as a tea sommelier. Tea and wine have [a lot of] the same things in common: various levels of astringency and they have their own terroir with flavor and aroma depending on the climate where they are [grown]."
Penelope plans to further her own education in tea, too: In November, she'll take her first level training for becoming a certified tea sommelier at the Chicago International Tea Festival.
And come December, you can get your own lesson in tea at Botanical Tea Room in Augusta.
Botanical Tea Room, botanicaltearoom.com