What’s brewing in SA’s quietly thriving tea scene

The SA tea scene is unique, exciting, and well-connected with the wider culinary scene.

The SA tea scene is unique, exciting, and well-connected with the wider culinary scene.

Published Apr 29, 2024


Birthday, holidays or just wanting to get dressed up and spend the afternoon with the girls are all perfectly perfect reasons for attending high or afternoon tea.

South Africa has all kinds of options when it comes to tea rooms from small, wide places to fancy, high-class spots.

The SA tea scene is unique, exciting, and well-connected with the wider culinary scene.

Here are some beautiful spots that the tea-curious should not miss out on.

Cape Town

Swan Café

This year, Swan Café turns 6. They have been voted in the 10 most Instagrammable cafés in the world by Lifestyle Asia, and listed in Inside Guide’s best breakfast spots for four years.

The café brings the magic of Paris to Cape Town, serving authentic French crêpes and gluten-free savoury galettes.

They also offer aromatic tea blends and artisanal coffee, delicious sexy salads, and brunch all day.

Their speciality teas promise evocative aromas and delicate tastes.

Located: Corner Buitenkant & Barrack Street, Zonnebloem.

Coco Safar

Coco Safar is a luxurious all-day café experience in a retro-chic and relaxed French-style café setting.

From their world-famous croissants and collection of the world’s finest coffees and teas to freshly baked bread and pâtisserie, they have it all.

Their high tea-tasting menu is a multi-sensory culinary journey blending savoury to sweet.

The pasty selection at Coco Safar. Picture: Supplied

Located: Piazza St John, 395 Main Rd, Sea Point.



Liberté is a restaurant that celebrates life, femininity, and connection.

Every Friday they host a high tea, the tea served in a cast-iron pot, which they love as it keeps the brew at an optimal temperature for longer.

Tea eats for two is served on two elegant, silver multi-tiered stands, the first bearing the savoury selection, and the second the sweet. # You can look forward to vol-auvent puff pastry cases, roasted zucchini strips with halloumi, flatbreads, olives, and a selection of sliced cheeses.

Located: The Woods Shopping Centre, 345 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall.

Shazmin’s Luxe Patisserie

Shazmin’s Luxe Patisserie, often hailed as “Jozis Most Instagrammable Pink Cafe,” has taken the South African culinary scene by storm.

It offers upscale café dining and world-class desserts and pastries that are a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

One of their crown jewels is the offering of fabulous high teas, an assortment of sweet and savoury treats paired with the finest teas.

Located: Nelson Mandela Square, 5th Street, Sandown, Sandton.


The Circle Café

The Circle Café, at the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre, has a rich and moving history. The site was once a club for the Jewish community.

It was founded by a couple in 1919 and served as a small canteen for soldiers during World War II.

The Circle Café was established to support the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre and is open to all visitors. After a museum tour, guests can sit quietly at the café and take in the soothing sound of the water fountain in the garden it opens out to.

Try their fried fish, salmon bagels, potato latkes or their famous cheesecake and tea. There is also a gift shop at the café. Located: 44 KE Masinga Road.

Quiche from The Circle Café. Picture: The Circle Café Facebook

Birds Tea & Coffee

Set under a covered veranda, the restaurant boasts eclectic decor that makes it a memorable and interesting spot to take tea. The menu is so simple it almost adds to the quirkiness. It has scrambled eggs on toast, boiled eggs on toast, avos, you guessed it, on toast, and a quiche of the day.

Beyond that, there are freshly baked scones and a selection of cakes. Located: 185 Lothian Road, Durban North.

Cape Times