Great tea rooms in Chelmsford – good coffee a little harder to find

The day didn’t begin too well in Chelmsford.

A cold, grey morning; really hard to find anywhere to park; and lots of aggressive white van drivers who clearly don’t like newcomers to town dithering in front of them when they want to do 45mph round town…

And it didn’t get much better as I searched for my coffee fix to kick-start things.

There’s not a big coffee scene in Chelmsford. The only vaguely independent place I found served Lavazza, and I’m just not into it unless the place around it is unmissable. So I found myself putting my head round the doors of caffs, of delis, I even toyed with going to one of the corporates, not to review of course, but just for that first coffee of the day…

As I wandered round the centre I could see that I’d have no problem finding a nice place for a tea later on, though. Unlike most of urban Britain these days, it’s easier in Chelmsford to find good tea than a decent cup of coffee.

The problem was going to be in deciding which tea room to review!

So I decided to drop into one and see what coffee they did. Good move…

Outside Buscall & Flynn's Tearoom and Bakery in Chelmsford

Buscall & Flynns Tearoom and Cakery get all their tea and coffee from Taylor’s of Harrogate, so that’s a pretty good guarantor of quality.

The coffee was served in dainty bone china (because they’ve gone for the vintage tea room style, here), and was good enough for me pretty quickly to be ordering a second cup…

Coffee & cake at Buscall & Flynn's Tearoom & Bakery in Chelmsford

By the time I left, I’d really warmed to this place and to Chelmsford in general (ah, caffeine addiction, that’s what it does to you).

Rachel and Angela only opened this place four weeks ago, so are still settling in. But it’s got a great feel, and they’re extremely friendly and open to ideas or suggestions. Not that they needed any, really: Angela’s cake-baking, along with Taylor’s quality, will take them a long way.

Buscall & Flynn's Tearoom & Bakery in Chelmsford - opening notice

I only wish I lived nearer as I’m a bit of a keen gardener, and I’d love to help them get that back garden ready for tea (or coffee) to be served out there in summer…

The Cathedral was really friendly, too. In complete contrast to some of the others I’ve been to recently, they almost seemed surprised at an offer of a small donation to cathedral costs…

Chelmsford Cathedral

And it had some great stories about connections to America, from Thomas Hooker who lectured here in the 1620s and then went over to found Connecticut, through to the US servicemen who were based round Essex during the war.

For me, there’s almost more joy to discovering these kinds of connections in a small cathedral than gazing at architectural wonders in the major cathedrals of the country.

So I almost didn’t need my spirits lifting any further at tea time.

But Small Talk Tea Rooms were great for feeling part of Chelmsford’s community. Michael and Monika may be from Poland originally but they’ve created a ‘typical’ English tea room in what is actually a very modern block on the edge of Chelmsford’s city centre.

Small Talk Tea Rooms in Chelmsford

Michael bakes all the wonderful cakes and scones, and they import their teas from the Czech company Oxalis. There’s a fantastic selection of loose-leaf teas here, and we think it’s rather good that we tea lovers of Britain learn that there is also a great tea culture in Prague and the rest of the Czech Republic.

Afternoon tea at Small Talk Tea Rooms in Chelmsford

By the end of the day I felt quite cheered by Chelmsford.

Just shows what a good cup of coffee, a friendly cathedral and a slap-up cream tea can do to you. Well, that is the point of this blog, after all…

Video: Great tea rooms in Chelmsford

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12 Responses to Great tea rooms in Chelmsford – good coffee a little harder to find

  1. Matthew says:

    Hey, I notice you didn’t include us (Stewarts Deli and Tearoom)! We are one of the few, original independent coffee shops in Chelmsford – we have a huge range of tee, coffee and homemade cakes! Why not pop in next time you are in town?


    • admin says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Matt. Maybe the word tearoom misled me into thinking you focused more on tea than coffee! But I’d happily drop in next time I’m in Chelmsford. What coffee roaster do you use?

  2. Vicky gibbs says:

    Hello caffeine hunter !
    You didnt go to the bottom of the high st as cherry on top serves great coffee and all our cakes are made on the premises and are fresh and made with the best ingredients.Next time your in our neck of the woods do come and try us out!

  3. jackie lambert says:

    Used to fo to cherry on top every week,but began to feel tension among staff and unfriendly management.
    Then changed to small talk,delicious coffee,mint tea and sandwiches with excellent authentic surroundings.
    Recently tried,after many years,Stewarts deli/tea room.
    Matt and Geraldine are adorable and trying so hard to live their dream.Cannot comment on the coffee as havent tried it yet. But Geraldine has started a monthly themed cooking demonstration which i feel is an excellent idea and truly wish them lots of fun and success

  4. Hi there, just came across your website and we love, love, love afternoon tea. We are a Travelling Vintage Tea room bringing the perfect tea party to you whether it’s a birthday party at home or a big wedding in a marquee. We bake daily and bring with us all our beautiful vintage china, linens and bunting.
    Please take a look at our website and all our pics on the facebook page and please share if you like us. We don’t advertise at all. Thank you x

    • admin says:

      Sounds a nice concept. If we were still in the UK I’d love to come down and give you a try, but we are travelling for the net few months overland through Europe and Asia. Will look out for you when we return to the UK! Thanks for getting in touch

  5. Stephen Young says:

    I only drink coffee and I will only drink coffee made with full fat milk, not semi skimmed milk. Only establishments that offer full fat milk get my custom. In Chelmsford I can recommend “Recess” for good coffee, also all Costa Coffee shops, Muffin Maker located in The Meadows. Starbucks and Cafe Nero only offer semi skimmed milk and as all coffee lovers know coffee can only be made with full fat milk. Any recommendations for cafe serving full fat milk please reply.

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