In a country that loves its cañas, vermouth, wine, and coffee, tea probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of popular drinks in Spain.
But believe it or not, afternoon tea in Madrid is getting increasingly popular. Today, tea rooms absolutely have their place here in the Spanish capital!
Once mainly consumed for medicinal and health reasons, tea has experienced a strong resurgence here in Spain in recent years. Immigration and influence from nearby tea-loving nations such as the UK and Morocco have helped this soothing drink earn its place on the national culinary scene.
Today, we here in Spain sometimes enjoy tea with breakfast instead of coffee. It’s also a popular choice during merienda, the traditional afternoon snacking period that usually involves something sweet!
So whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up cup or a full-blown English-style high tea, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top choices for afternoon tea in Madrid.
1. Salón des Fleurs
Salón des Fleurs is a part tea room-part flower shop in Madrid’s Chamberí neighborhood. Big, bright windows, comfy seating and beautiful vintage French-inspired decor make this the perfect spot to spend an afternoon cozied up with a warm cup of tea.
They have a wide selection of more than 20 teas and infusions. Among them are everything from your standard black to unique options like strawberry with champagne and cherry caramel. Enjoy it with a slice of homemade cake for the ultimate cozy tea room experience.
2. Santa Eulalia
Tucked away a few blocks from the Royal Palace, you’ll find Santa Eulalia, a hidden gem where you can enjoy delicious, beautiful pastries, tarts and other baked goods all made in house.
The coolest part? This cafe doubles as an archeological site. You’ll get to enjoy your tea and pastries on top of the city’s original 11th-century Christian walls!
If you do go in the morning, be sure to order a warm, buttery croissant and a tostada con tomate served on freshly baked bread.
3. El Riojano
Opened by a former pastry chef to the Spanish royal family, El Riojano is one of the oldest bakeries in Madrid. Perfectly located right between Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, it’s a can’t-miss spot for a Spanish-style tea, coffee, or a delicious cake or pastry, all of which are baked on site daily.
Make your way past the pastry counter in the front of the shop to the salón de té (one of Madrid’s most ornate tea rooms) in the back. Don’t forget to order a few pastas de consejo, the lemon-flavored tea cookies that were once served to King Alfonso XIII.
4. El Rincón de Salvador Bachiller
Rooftop drinks are a must in Madrid. But why not make that drink a tea?
Located right off busy Gran Vía, you’ll find this hidden oasis right alongside the Salvador Bachiller shop. Surrounded by plants and mood lighting, it’s the perfect place to stop and recharge with their high tea. If you’re hungry earlier in the day, they also have a great brunch menu!
5. Café del Jardín at the Museo del Romanticismo
The Museo del Romanticismo is one of our favorite hidden gems in Madrid. A living tribute to the Romantic period of Spanish art and literature, the crown jewel on this beautiful little space is its hidden garden cafe—which just happens to serve some of the best afternoon tea in Madrid.
While we highly suggest a visit to the museum itself, the Café del Jardín is accessible even for non-museum guests. Grab a seat among the lush greenery and sip a warming cup of tea while nibbling a piece of cake or a pastry.
Note: As of April 2021, the Café del Jardín is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but plans to reopen soon.
6. El Califa
For a different side of Madrid’s tea scene, head to El Califa to experience the traditions of the Middle East and northern Africa. The exterior is unassuming and easy to miss, but step inside and you’ll be transported to a whole new world.
Choose from 30 flavors of tea and infusions, all of which pair beautifully with a selection of Arabic sweets. If you’re in the mood for something savory, they also have excellent homemade tagines!
7. Heritage Hotel
As one of the most complete and authentic British-style afternoon teas in Madrid, the Heritage Hotel’s Tea Experience is a true feast for the senses.
There are three options for the tea service, all of which include your choice from two dozen teas, freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches, and miniature pastries. The té completo at €25 includes all of the above, whereas the té completo con champagne (€35) tacks on a glass of Moët Imperial. The most exclusive option, the té premium (€55) upgrades the champagne experience even more by serving it all on real 19th-century china from some of the most prominent English families of the era.
Afternoon Tea in Madrid FAQs
Most cafes and tea rooms in Madrid open for the day around breakfast time and stay open through late afternoon for the merienda period, when locals will take a break for a snack. However, check the opening hours of whichever tea room you choose before going.
The Spanish word for tea is té, and most names of different teas translate fairly directly: té negro (black tea), té verde (green tea), té Earl Grey, etc. You can also order infusions by asking for an infusión followed by whichever type you like: manzanilla (chamomile), menta (peppermint), and so on.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on June 22, 2020 and was republished with new text and photos on April 16, 2021.