Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar is located in the heart of Cape Town, in none other than the very vibey Long Street. Long Street is an exceptionally buzzing street, just a block down from the much loved (by me) Kloof Street, and therefore is the best location for a new, trending tea shop/ takeaway cafe like Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar.
Within just one week of opening, Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar has already been the talk of the town among the chatty Cape Town crowd. Before opening up her Tea Bar in Long Street, she used to sell tea out of a food truck and thus has gained a fair few fans of her tea. Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar is also the first tea bar to exist in South Africa.
I am not usually one to flock to new places just because they are ‘hot or happening’, but as the crazy tea lover I am, it would be a real tragedy if I didn’t pop in for a tea. I literally am that girl walking around town with a travel cup filled with tea. I drink a good 5-8 cups a day. Tea is happiness.
My love for tea really does run deep. I have attended more than a dozen amazing tea ceremonies in multiple different countries, visited a handful of amazing tea plantations all over the world and walked down the longest tea street in China…It’s fair to say that I know a good cup of tea when I taste it.
After parking my car a block away from the shop, I took a one minute walk down Long Street looking for the store and nearly missed it upon my search. Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar from the street is merely a window and a door’s width along the pavement, making it quite easy to miss it and walk straight pass. The only thing that caught my eye were the different packages of tea in the little window display.
If you didn’t walk straight pass it, then you would notice that it’s quite small. The tea bar’s space feel exactly like that of a bar space in a club: a bit cramped. The shop space is long and narrow, featuring a cupboard of tea products and pots to your left, a central area in which to order and collect your tea and then the tea counter to your right. Right at the back of the tea bar you will find the small outdoor area with two tables and a few chairs.
I was one of five or six people, and a massive tripod, and it was enough to make the place feel claustrophobic. If you want to go here, try and go at a time when there is less likely to be a line to get a cup of tea.
The venue, while small, has pretty decor and soft lighting which makes it feel fancy. As this is a tea bar, there are no ‘real’ seating options available to customers. While there is an outside area, consisting of two small round tables and four or so chairs to each table, it is not the place you want to mull over a cup of tea and have a chat with your bestie. In fact this ‘tea bar’ is definitely not the place for you if you value a cup of tea.
On the Menu
The menu is really the best part about this tea bar because of the unusual drink combinations. I love tea and their menu does definitely stand out compared to the limited varieties of teas offered across cafe’s in Cape Town.
A few examples from their menu:
- Rooibos Chino
- Matcha Latte
- Pumpkin Chai Latte
- London Fog Chino
- Morocco Choco Minto Latto
- Tumeric Golden Milk
- Rooibos Choc Chili Chai Latte
Apart from the hot tea drinks, there are also a few sweet treats for purchase (think brownies, cookies and croissants) as well as loose leaf tea bags, which retail for around R60.
Would I go back? Probably not. Sadly this is usually what happens when places are over-rated and hyped up – it ends up disappointing true tea lovers like myself. While my cup of tea was reasonably tasty, the atmosphere of the place is lackluster. At roughly R24 a pop, I’ll stick to my home-brewed tea and comfy couch, for I am not one to stand around drinking a cup of tea. Tea is made to be enjoyed, and for me that includes sitting down.
Yes, yes, as the name suggests, this is not a cafe and rather a bar, and therefore there is not really anywhere for one to sit, but that still doesn’t make me feel any differently about tea and how I like to drink it.
If you are after some fancy looking tea’s for a gift, or a splurge for yourself, then this is the place for you. Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar features a lovely and wide variety of loose-leaf tea’s to purchase. A few which caught my eye were the Turkish Apple, African Delight, Harmony and Moulin Rouge.
While the taste of the tea is all there, I didn’t like the vibe when I was there. It was probably a combination of being newly opened and having Top Billing’s entire crew taking over the store, but customer service is extremely important to me, and my first experience of a place makes or breaks it for me in terms of returning again.
Just a hint to all newly opened shops: when camera crew are inside filming and are clearly blocking the only walking space, you should rather close the shop for business than film and block the exit of customers (me) inside!
You can visit the website for more information about the tea’s, the company and contact information.
The tea bar’s open hours are:
Monday-Friday 08:00 – 16:00