The Ritz Carlton Berlin is a wonderful place to have afternoon tea in the city, thanks to its attentive staff, beautiful setting and delicious food.
Afternoon tea in Berlin isn’t as common as I’d found in other European cities. Germany has a more popular tradition of coffee and cake in the afternoons, which you’ll be able to find in cafes all over Berlin all year round, but afternoon tea in the capital seems to be more of a seasonal affair that’s only available at a few high-end hotels.
Afternoon tea in Berlin
The Ritz Carlton Berlin was one of the hotels that I found offering afternoon tea, and as I discovered during my research, very few serve it over the summer months. Instead you’ll mainly find afternoon tea on the menu between the months of September to April.
Sadly I was visiting the city in the height of August, but the team at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin were kind enough to let me preview their afternoon tea, which launches this month.
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is found on the public square called Potsdamer Platz. Now a city hub, it’s hard to believe that this area was once part of the Berlin Wall’s no-mans-land. Since then it’s been redeveloped and is now home to the massive Berlin Mall, as well as modern high-rises, cafes, bars and restaurants.
You’ll find the Ritz-Carlton tucked away in a quiet corner of the ‘Platz, and as you’re guided through the hotel’s revolving doors, you enter an elegant, peaceful space, miles away from the bustle of the busy street outside.
Once inside we headed straight to The Lounge, where afternoon tea is served. This area had a classic style, with mirrored surfaces, chrome fittings and designer furniture.
Our server, Antonella, took us to our table, already set up for us, complete with teapot warmers and napkins folded to look like cute little dinner jackets. Getting comfy on our plush sofa and leather armchairs, she then brought over their impressive tea trolley so we could decide what to drink.
Amazing tea selection
I’d never seen anything of its kind before, and was totally in awe of the trolley, which housed a wide selection of unique blends from Mariage Frères. Antonella asked us what we were in the mood for; black, white, green or blue tea, and then brought out a selection of tea caddies for us to smell and choose from.
She was happy for us to take our time, and passionately talked us through each of the teas, their flavours and histories. In the end we decided to each go for a different type and flavour, eventually deciding on a black smoky tea, an Assam, a white tea with jasmine and a Taiwanese Oolong blue tea – which we learnt is a half deoxidised tea, making it part-way between a black and green tea.
Meeting a tea master
Not long after this we were joined by Sarah, the Ritz-Carlton’s Tea Master. A tea master is to tea what a sommelier is to wine. Originally from France, Sarah trained in the UK and Australia and regularly travels around the world meeting with tea experts. She was kind enough to spend some time with us and talked about the history of tea, the differences between afternoon and high tea and her own, very interesting, career path.
But tea wasn’t the only thing on the menu, and we were each treated to a glass of Moet champagne. Sarah asked us if we’d prefer classic or rosé – unable to decide, in the end Justin and I chose to have a glass of each to share.
It was the little touches that really made this afternoon tea stand out for me, and one of these was when Sarah returned with a sparkling non-alcoholic ‘champagne’ for the kids. It was really nice to be able to all raise a glass together and toast our special treat.
Afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton Berlin
After a short time enjoying our drinks, our afternoon tea was brought out on two three-tier trays.
As always we began with the sandwiches, which were made up of a selection of salmon and house-made mayo, cucumber cream, roast beef tarragon, and brie de meaux cranberries and walnut. The fillings were impressive – the salmon was a double-decker, full of smoky flavour from the fish with just the right amount of cream cheese and served on wholemeal bread.
This was on par with the roast beef sandwich, which was served pink and rich in flavour. The cucumber cream was a classic and then the soft, creamy brie paired well with the sweet cranberry, which was served on beetroot bread.
As we were finishing up, Antonella popped over to see what we thought of the sandwiches, asking us which was our favourite and then offering to give us a top up. The extra salmon sandwiches were enjoyed just as much second time round and I thought it was lovely to be offered some extra savouries.
Scones and sweets
Next we moved onto the scones, which weren’t the biggest I’d seen but were freshly made. These were served with marmalade with ginger and ‘clotted cream’, although it had the texture of whipped cream, so I would query that.
As I’m not a fan of fruit scones I asked if it was possible to just have plain scones, and they were happy to oblige. I really appreciated this as some places don’t, simply because the teas are all prepared in advance.
They also took this on board with the sweets – whereas everyone else was given a classic Dundee cake, they gave me a little chocolate cake, once again showing the thought that goes into their customer care.
This was soft, moist and delicious just like most of the other sweets that made up this final section of our afternoon tea. Alongside the Dundee (or chocolate cake in my case) we each had a raspberry and almond millefeuille, a red velvet cupcake, a millionaire’s shortbread and a butter-pecan blondie.
The millefeuille had a gentle almond flavour and a mix of textures and tastes – we loved the crisp chocolate on top and crunchy seeds and the sharp yet delicate tang of the fruit. The mini meringue topping on the red velvet cake was delicious, as was the cake itself, but my favourite by far was the rich and decadent millionaire’s shortbread. The ‘shortbread’ was actually cake-like in texture and the dark chocolate topping ganache-esque. It was so gooey it’d melt in your hand – but it tasted so good you just didn’t care!
What we thought
I adored our time at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin. The afternoon tea itself was delicious but what made the experience stand out more than anything was the exceptional service we received from Antonella, Sarah and the rest of the team.
Everyone was so welcoming, friendly and happy to sit with us and chat about their work. It really came across that they have a passion for what they do and enjoy their jobs.
We felt relaxed – to the point we knew we could have spent the entire afternoon chilling in the lounge – and were actually quite sad to leave. If you’re looking for somewhere to have afternoon tea in Berlin you have your answer – it’s the Ritz-Carlton, hands down!
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Afternoon tea is available at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin on Wednesday to Sunday between 2.30pm and 5pm. It costs €42 per person, €54 with a glass of champagne or €57 with a martini cocktail.
Are you a fan of the Ritz-Carlton chain – or just afternoon teas in general? If so you might want to check out our review of Afternoon Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur.
Our afternoon tea was complimentary for the purposes of this review. However, as always, all views are my own.