<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

What's brewing at the Mystery Tea House in Preston?

PUBLISHED: 18:29 31 January 2013 | UPDATED: 17:38 21 October 2015

Tomek with Paulina and Natalia

Tomek with Paulina and Natalia

Something is brewing in a Preston street where many of the world's most exotic teas are now available. Hot news from Michael Barrett

I’d never seen a full flower unravelling inside a glass teapot before, but then I’d never been in a place quite like The Mystery Tea House on Cannon Street in Preston.

Chatting to its owner, Natalia Lotocka, about her favourite teas has  opened up a new world to me. Like many, I’m used to herbal teas of the supermarket variety, but this was something else, something better.

I opted for a green tea called Spring-Breeze. Natalia took the jar off the shelf behind the counter and allowed me to take in the aroma before deciding. It was the first one I tried - delicate scents of apple, lemon grass, coconut, ginger, and cardamom. Once the lid was lifted there was no way I was leaving without tasting it.

The Mystery Tea House opened in September of 2009 and Natalia runs it
with her husband Tomek, her sister Paulina and team of part-time staff.

‘My parents always had a strong love of tea,’ she says. ‘This was  transferred to me as I grew up. When I first moved to Preston from Poland my mother used to send me different teas as I missed them so much.

‘I was then inspired to open my own business as I couldn’t get the teas
anywhere else. It was my dream. And at least now I don’t have to trouble my mother anymore!’

With nearly 100 blends on offer, the Tea House can certainly boast that it has something to tempt every palate. Shelved in tall glass jars behind the counter, the display reminds me of an old time sweet shop. The welcome you get is old fashioned, too. A willingness to recommend and patiently share knowledge is evident.

The teas are sourced from all over the world. Speciality teas like the elegant blooming flowers, spicy teas laced with ginger and red pepper, intense green teas, chocolate teas, cherry and rum, rooibos, oolong, white, black and pink teas. Yes, pink!

Some of the names are just as inviting. How would you like a Fantasia? A Masai King? Perhaps a Fujian White Long, or a Bora Bora? Maybe a Prince of Persia? But if you just fancy good old builder’s tea or black coffee, that’s fine.

One beverage that catches my attention is the Yerba Maté. This traditional South American drink, a concoction of dried leaves, fruits and herbs, is served in a gourd, a wide mug without a handle, and narrows inwards towards the top. Water is poured on and the resulting infusion is drunk through a special straw, known as a bombilla.

The maté is said to be a social drink and I am keen to try it out on my next visit. The gourds and bombillas can be ornate, and some styles are on sale in the Tea House. Their wide assortment of teapots, tea sets and other decorative tea paraphernalia make for original gifts.

Decorated in vibrant greens and yellows the ambience is relaxing, with a touch of the tropical and on the walls, jostling for attention amidst African carved masks and elegant warrior statues, are exhibitions of vibrant paintings.

The tea house has also been used as a venue for a variety of events such as poetry readings and soon they are handling their first wedding. If that wasn’t enough, it’s a double wedding!

The Mystery Tea House, which serves some interesting looking food to accompany the teas, is fast becoming a major attraction on a street which is bucking the economic current trend - and Natalia is a vociferous force behind the campaign to pedestrianise it.

When I look at what Natalia and her family are quietly achieving here I find it difficult not to make comparisons with the famous Brucciani’s of Fishergate. That too is a café opened by immigrants, way back in the 1930s, and has become a regular fixture in the lives of its community. Will The Mystery Tea House continue to thrive like Brucci’s? I’d certainly like to think so.

It’s no mystery

So why is it called The Mystery Tea House. Natalia says: ‘The name can mean whatever you
want it to. Tea brewing and drinking has a mysterious past.

It is an ancient ceremony that plays a big role in many cultures. Each customer that visits will discover something different for themselves, they will uncover their own mystery. And also, we are quite hidden here at the bottom of the street, not everyone sees us!’


More from Food & Drink

Ad Feature: La Locanda

Friday, February 16, 2018

When you visit La Locanda, a true taste of Italy is guaranteed, thanks to the owners, Maurizio and Cinzia Bocchi, a husband and wife team who hail from Lake Maggiore, in northern Italy...

Read more
Friday, February 9, 2018

The Boho Baker makes a traditional Lancashire cake that could be a great alternative to pancakes.

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Treat Mum to a deliciously authentic Italian meal to remember this Mother’s Day (Sunday, March 11th).

Read more
Thursday, February 1, 2018

A crafty collaboration has brought the worlds of beer and art together in Salford, as Rebekka O’Grady discovers

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mother’s Day at The Lock - Sunday 11th of March.

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It’s Pizza o’Clock at The Top Lock - Monday to Thursday from 4 ’til 9pm.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Treat your mum to an extra special afternoon tea at The Butlers Arms this Mothers Day.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Start the weekend The Butlers Arms way, with 2 for 1 from our Friday Seafood Menu, Fish & Chips and on Prosecco.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

You’re a vegetarian, they love a steak. Perhaps it’s the other way round. Maybe you’ll both have the steak or you’ll both try vegan.

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The contemporary vibe of this new Ribble Valley restaurant will have surprised customers who recall the old hotel dining room. Roger Borrell reports.

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants Whalley
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Contemporary Chinese restaurant Tattu is calling time on those January blues with a host of special events lined up for February from Valentine’s Day through to a week-long celebration for Chinese New Year.

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Join Arlene Phillips and Strictly Come Dancing favourites Aljaz and Janette on this exclusive 8-day river cruise along the Danube

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Take a break from your spending spree with this selection of afternoon teas located around the main shopping areas of King Street and Exchange Square in the centre of Manchester.

Read more
Afternoon Tea Manchester
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Our new columnist, Debby Donnelly-Addison is determined to fly the flag for produce from the county, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search