Rose Tree Cottage, a SoCal tea establishment, occupies the first floor of an old single-family house in Pasadena’s residential neighborhood. With flags flying and adorning the front yard, one may mistake it for a cultural institute or consulate office.

I was taken by surprise when proprietor Mr. Fry asked if my party would be celebrating a special occasion. No. I had not seen my tea-loving friends for a while. We selected Rose Tree Cottage from a list of notable tea houses – an excellent choice it turned out to be.

Mr. Fry served refreshing elderflower cordial before pouring our first cup of tea. Finger foods are meant to be eaten without utensils; I couldn’t help but used my teaspoon when savoring Yorkshire Pudding. We were also instructed in the proper way to consume a scone: Slice the scone in half, spread cream and jam; do not make a sandwich.

There was at least one gentleman guest at every table; including mine, as one friend brought her husband. I especially enjoyed how Mr. Fry, Mrs. Fry, and team roamed the room to pour tea for everybody without leaving the teapot on the crammed tables. We conversed with Mr. Fry, asked questions about traditional English-style afternoon tea, even briefly touched the subject of politics!

Rose Tree Cottage was featured in a few news segments several months ago. Why? Rose Tree Cottage is where Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, learned proper tea etiquette before relocating to Europe.

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