This isn’t your grandmother’s version of tea-time. The interior of each smith&hsu tea shop (there are various locations all over the city) is an ode to minimalist design, with brightly colored tins of tea providing the only pops of color. The Ximending outpost, housed in a cavernous brick-and-cement space, is more “warehouse party” than “afternoon tea”.
Equally unique are the 40-plus bottles of tea leaves brought out on a tray for you to preview smith&hsu's tea selection, which range from traditional black, green, and oolong teas to more contemporary blended and fruit teas. The shop gives a nod to the Western afternoon tea tradition with unbelievably delicious scones, served with Devonshire clotted cream and farm-made jams on the side.
Reservations are recommended, particularly at the intimate storefront across from the W Hotel/Taipei City Hall MRT.