Bring the Family

Tea at the Langham

The author’s children, Nate, 9, and Rachel, 6.
Hayley Kaufman/Globe staff
The author’s children, Nate, 9, and Rachel, 6.

Who: Features editor Hayley Kaufman, husband Chris, and kids Nate, 9, and Rachel, 6

What: Afternoon tea

Where: The Langham Boston, 250 Franklin St.


We are a casual family. My son Nate has been known to wear the same pair of track pants to school two days in a row. Daughter Rachel brushes only the hair she can see, leaving the back in a fine little nest. Their hands are often inky.

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So as you might guess, it took us some time to get ready for afternoon tea at the Langham hotel. Finally, with neckties tied and hair curled, we strolled through the sleek lobby and were ushered into a cozy lounge area. The kids grabbed a glamorous tufted banquette while Chris and I sank into comfy chairs.

Ahhh. It’s veddy good to be fancy — once in a while.

We ordered the Tiffin Tea service for each of us, an admittedly pricey undertaking at $30 per person. (If your kids eat like birds, think about sharing one.) The Langham London was apparently the first hotel to serve afternoon tea in 1865, and they still know what they’re doing. They offer an array of teas — black, green, herbal — in flavors sure to appeal to the most trepidacious tea drinker. Nate settled on the Pomegranate Oolong, while Rachel went with Jasmine Dragon Pearl.

The server delivered each of us a lovely Wedgwood teapot and a cup and saucer so delicate that extending one’s pinky seemed a requirement. Then came the food. So much food.


First, we nibbled delicious scones with thick jam and lemon curd. Then we moved on to little tea sandwiches (the cucumber with white pepper and dill was a favorite, followed by a curried chicken salad). At last, plates of sweets arrived: diminutive Boston cream pies, fruit tarts, and poppy-seed cakes.

The bounty, at first, seemed overwhelming. “Mommy, can we take this home with us?” Rachel asked. I said yes, but I spoke too soon. Nate is an athletic 9-year-old, and there was no slowing him down. He made his way through the sandwiches — carefully dabbing his mouth with his napkin when reminded. Then he turned his attention to the confections, including the scones, which were the hit of the afternoon.

Hayley Kaufman can be reached at hkaufman