Welcome to the Devonshire Tea Guide
My name is Toni Krasicki and I am a health and travel writer with a penchant for Devonshire Tea adventures. This guide is a collaboration of my Devonshire Tea experiences that were never intended to be made into a guide. However after meeting many other Devonshire Tea fans over the years and noticing the difficulty in tracking down Devonshire Teas when travelling around or visiting places around the country, I decided to combine my passion for travel, writing and Devonshire Teas. To make it clear, I haven’t progressed to baking scones, rather I enjoy sniffing them out in my travels.
Why Devonshire Teas?
I had my first Devonshire Tea in the mid-80s when I was visiting family, who were at the time, living in the Upper Hunter Valley. Although just a teenager, I was enthralled by the concept of breaking open piping hot scones and lavishing them with jam and cream. I didn’t really think about Devonshire Teas much over the next 20 years even though I spent many years living in England. Yes, I had wonderful Cream Teas with butter-thick clotted cream on several occasions, but now, in the advent of the internet there’s never really been a need to collect reviews.
I’ve collected this information from eating through more scones than I care to admit over several years. I have popped in the date of the review at the bottom of each listing, and if they are prior to 2011 I have contacted the cafes to make sure they still exist or still have scones on the menu. So far there are double digits of Devonshire Teas that no longer exist. The few that I am sad to see go are the Tea Parlour in Redfern, Harrogate’s in Pyrmont, Sydney, and The Flying Nun in the Brisbane’s, Samford.
These reviews have been done informally, scribbled on scraps of paper without any intention of becoming part of a guide. The photos are not professional foodie shots, but rather amateur holiday snaps taken purely for the fun of it from my travels around Australia and a few in New Zealand. You’ll find more reviews for NSW only because I live in Sydney and spend a lot of time in a village 300 km west called Hill End.
I would like to mention that I have discovered that not everybody knows what a Devonshire Tea is. Many Australians working in a cafe know it as scones, jam and cream, so rocking up to a cafe and asking for a Devonshire Tea may illicit a blank stare. I know because it’s happened to me on many occasions. Recently as I worked through my check list calling cafes, I called one particular cafe and asked whether they had Devonshire Teas. The young man’s reply was, “no, we only have English Breakfast and Earl Grey.” And, he was being serious!
Personally I prefer to drink herbal teas, so you’ll notice that there won’t be the traditional tea with milk in the photos, but it’s the norm and definitely always available but I believe you can drink any type of tea or drink coffee with your scones, it is after all the 21st century.
I hope you enjoy this collection and find it invaluable in your quest for a good Devonshire Tea. Bon appétit!
How this guide works
I have used a teapot system to rate the scones, jam and cream for quality and taste. A lousy score and the lowest rating possible is half a teapot and for excellence an item can score up to five teapots.
Due to inevitable price changes, I have devised four categories to give you a general idea of the cost of a serving of scones, jam, cream and tea or coffee. Generally a serving consists of two scones, but sometimes it may just be one, or an option to have only one, or you may even have up to three scones served, it really depends on the establishment. Tea is usually served in a small pot, however on several occasions I have had just a lonely cup of tea.
The cheapest Devonshire Tea I have found is in Sydney at the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre at the monthly markets, and the most expensive costs $24 at The Bar, Sir Stamford Circular Quay Hotel in Sydney’s CBD. On average expect to pay between $8 and $12.
$ – less than $6
$$ – $7 to $12
$$$ – $13 to $19
$$$$ – more than $20
To get the best out of your scones take these tips into consideration:
- The season – for some reason scones taste better in winter or in cooler weather.
- The time of day – if baked daily the scones will definitely be fresher in the morning.
- The day of the week – if most of the trade is on the weekends then the scones may only be baked to coincide with the demand.
PLEASE NOTE: Cafes and restaurants change their menus, close down or change hands, so call before you go. If you do come across a cafe that no longer exits, please let me know. And remember, this guide is 100% subjective, purely my humble opinion. Anyhow, what do I know? 🙂