Find out what’s brewing in SA’s quietly thriving tea scene

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

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

Published Apr 22, 2024


Birthdays, 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 dining at.

An exquisite mix of flavours with mixed berry compote, homemade lemon curd, strawberry sorbet, seasonal berries & fresh Chantilly cream from the Swan Café. Picture: Swan Café Facebook

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 the city of Cape Town, serving you 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, delicate tastes, and an unforgettable experience.

Located: Corner Buitenkant & Barrack Street, Zonnebloem.

Coco Safar

Coco Safar is a luxurious all-day café experience designed to take you on a culinary journey beyond the ordinary 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 that push the boundaries of culinary couture, they cover your every need.

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

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

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



Liberté is a restaurant that celebrates life, femininity, and connection. Based in Craighall - one of Joburg’s most beautiful, leafy suburbs – it seeks to inspire a greater awareness of self. It is a place where you can free yourself from the beliefs that keep you small and powerless.

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

Tea 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-au-vent 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.

Shazmins Luxe Patisserie

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

Nestled in the heart of Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, this luxurious patisserie offers a tantalising experience of upscale cafe dining and world-class desserts and pastries that are simply a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.

Their menu is an exquisite fusion of traditional and contemporary flavours, carefully curated to cater to a diverse palate.

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

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


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

The Circle Café

The Circle Café, at the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre, has a rich history. The site was once a club for the Jewish community. It was founded by a couple in 1919 and once 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 enjoy the fresh air and soothing sound of the water fountain, while they tuck into the freshly made treats.

Try their fried fish, salmon bagels, potato latkes, or their famous cheesecake. There is also a gift shop at the café.

Located: 44 KE Masinga Road.

Birds Tea & Coffee

Located under a covered verandah, the restaurant boasts eclectic decor that makes it memorable and interesting.

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.