An annual award described as the ‘Oscars’ of the tea world in the UK has named high tea at The Goring Hotel in London the best in class.

That’s because tea at the posh Belgravia-area hotel starts with an assortment of flavors with heady, elaborate descriptors like hand-picked chamomile flowers from Egypt; Dragon Well or Longjing tea, picked once a year before the Quing Ming Lunar festival in China; and tea-leaves harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas.

To accompany the teas, the service includes a multi-tiered cake stand groaning with pastries such as dainty spice cakes with brandy icing; chestnut rolls; chicken, sour cream, tarragon and red pepper finger sandwiches; and of course, the requisite homemade scones with Devonshire clotted cream and jam.

It’s a service the hotel has been perfecting over the last 113 years, garnering near-perfect scores for the anonymous “tea inspectors” at the UK Tea Guild’s, 2013 Top London Afternoon Tea Awards in 16 categories that included décor, efficiency of service, tea knowledge, appropriate use of crockery, appearance and flavor.

“Afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel is a truly special experience,” said Irene Gorman, head of the Tea Guild.

“The elegant surroundings and faultless presentation make it a memorable occasion aided by friendly, efficient and knowledgeable staff. It is easy to understand why this leading establishment attracts so many, of all ages, to take afternoon tea.”

Guests can either sip on their tea fireside in the hotel lounge, or outside in the hotel garden. Tea service ranges from £37.50 to £47.50 (about US$ 58-73).

The Goring Hotel afternoon tea service

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