7 Tea Boutiques Where You Need To Grab A Cuppa Right Now
One afternoon, about two years ago, I walked into a gathering at Le Meridien New Delhi. The invitation, featuring an afternoon of tea and shaayri had looked alluring. Enthralling a full room with lyrical Urdu couplets was the genteel Tom Alter. While we listened in awe, a delectable selection of tea was offered. Each cuppa was served to gel with the mood of the shaayri. Every infusion was distinct and noteworthy. Tea has come a long way from being Everyman’s beverage. It is much more than Mumbai’s cutting chai, the capital’s winter regular, the masala chai, or the Bengali’s frothy chai in a khullar. Verve lists some of the best tea boutiques in the country, which have been instrumental in spreading the love for unique teas in India.
The Tea Trunk, Goa
Tea sommelier Snigdha Manchanda says, “It has catapulted from being a mere commodity to a lifestyle choice. One of our hot-selling teas is infused with marigold petals, a flower belonging to the calendula family. And we all know the wonderful properties of calendula.” Tackling stress and other ailments, the amber liquid is the go-to luxury drink that is making a niche in the lifestyle of connoisseurs.
Radhika Batra Shah’s organic tea boutique is situated in Bandra’s Carter Road. Guests can sample their tea with scrumptious rosemary thyme breads, muffins and scones, or shop from a display of tea ware and visually appealing books. “The table in the centre of the store is the focal point. At tea ceremonies, guests do umpteen tastings to understand the leaf better before they buy,” informs Shah. Her brand, Radhika’s Fine Teas and Whatnots, sells exquisite teas from India, China and Sri Lanka as well as blends and tisanes from Turkey, Greece and Thailand.
Anandini Himalaya Tea, New Delhi
In the capital’s buzzing Shahpur Jat, tea sommelier and entrepreneur Anamika Singh has created a space for tea lovers to congregate and enjoy blissful moments sipping fresh infusions and innovative blends. These are crafted using the best leaves from the hills of Dharamshala as well as floral accents, herbs, rhododendrons and delicate spices from the southern part of India. Singh is of the view that tea is highly favoured because of the versatility it has exhibited. “Look at the range,” she exclaims. “There are teas for every occasion and palate.”
Pullman Hotel Aerocity New Delhi
Vishrut Gupta, the food and beverage director at the hotel, says, “On our menus, teas are matched with food. The Tea Deli breakfast menu includes house blends like Indian masala tea, Earl Grey, organic green tea and English breakfast tea. The Nilgiri Winter Magic from the Blue Mountains of South India, balances strength and flavour and goes well with the modern and European cuisine served at our restaurant Pluck.” The hotel’s Pling Bar uses tea in their signature cocktails such as Ananda Brew, a decoction of masala tea with vodka and orange zest, or Amelia which uses Earl Grey syrup and bourbon.
Olive Bar and Kitchen, New Delhi
The exquisite tea menu celebrates the marriage of tea blends and infusions with international food. While you sip on a light golden Egyptian brew of chamomile, nibble on an avocado tartare or mushroom duxelles. A Lady Lavender or hibiscus tea can be enjoyed with duck rillettes or salmon gravlax.
Cafe Tesu, New Delhi
The cosy eatery in the capital has on offer a host of bespoke blends for the foodie. There is a huge demand for their bergamot oil-infused Earl Grey and their array of green teas infused with an enviable basket of herbs and flowers.
Roasted, Roseate House, Aerocity
It has a veritable collection of haute teas from The Wellbeing Group (TWG). This special tea lounge gives guests a taste of Russian samovars, artisan tea tins and designer teapots. If that’s not enough, there are also tea-infused jellies for an extra kick.
While tea seems to be enjoying a moment of renaissance, it has also emerged a gifting favourite during weddings and the festive season, especially Christmas and Diwali. With wellness being the buzzword today, tea is a popular option. “Tucked in our simple yet classy white and gold boxes are small potlis or test tubes of tea. We also include a miniature booklet describing the tea and its benefits,” explains Anamika Singh. Enough said then. It’s time for some tea. Or maybe a tea facial! Didn’t we say tea is travelling places….