GALLERY: March tea parlour imported specialist tea pots from Germany to ensure its customers’ cuppas are just right

Royal Tea Rooms, March. Owner Michelle Smith.

Royal Tea Rooms, March. Owner Michelle Smith. - Credit: Archant

When mum Michelle Smith got itchy feet after nine years out of business, she little thought she would be opening a specialist tea parlour in a Fenland market town.

Royal Parlour, March. Picture: Steve Williams

Royal Parlour, March. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

Michelle, 43, had been looking for premises to run a cafe and restaurant - but when she saw the former Royal Exchange pub on March Market Square she was bowled over by its style and decided to open something out of the ordinary.

Michelle, who lives in Whittlesey with her husband Ian and 15-year-old son, said: “This is a fantastic building, and I knew there was a gap in the market for what I could offer.”

She took a master class in London with tea guru Jane Pettigrew, and now offers 43 teas from around the world at Royal Exchange Tea Parlour, along with freshly ground coffee and home made cakes, scones and soups.

Now a real tea enthusiast, Michelle said: “All teas come from the same bush, but the difference comes from where it grows, and how it is produced. All our teas are loose leaf, and are rolled and dried by hand.

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“Some of the more delicate teas need to be made with water below boiling point, and there is an optimum brewing time for each tea.”

To facilitate the correct brewing time for each tea, Jane imported special tea pots from Germany, with an infuser that twists to close off the leaves from the water, to stop the brewing process.

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The pots come to the table on a wooden platter designed and made by Michelle and her shop fitter husband, complete with a timer that flashes when the brewing is complete, along with a label describing the type of tea that has been chosen.

Michelle, who has previously been in the pub trade, said: “What we do here is totally unique, no one else is doing this in the UK. When I was looking for premises I visited a tea room, and that inspired me to create one in March.”

The parlour can host private parties, and offers gift vouchers for events including sparkling afternoon teas and vintage afternoon teas.

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