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Calling all tea totalers

Friday, January 13, 2012

If tea time is any time for you, then welcome to the gang of tea-totalers. From chai wallas to high tea, Rhea Dhanbhoora & Gargi Bansod tell you where to get the perfect cup of chai

A cup of tea has many friends. There are little cucumber sandwiches, hot vada pav, a light sponge cake or even good ol’ pakodas. So, this time, we’re letting coffee culture take a back seat and focusing on the many joys that a simple cup of tea can bring.

They say a lot can happen over a hot cup of coffee. We say why not try a hot cup of tea instead! Here are a few places you should try out:
Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge: 32 types of teas are served here; from traditional favourites such as Darjeeling Tea to unique teas such as the Cool Kiwi Iced Tea. The tea is served at your table in kettles, so you can have as many cups as you like, with or without milk. You will find a tea to satisfy your every craving.

Must try: Adrak Chai (`60) and Peach Ice Tea (`75)
Where: Hanuman Road, Opposite Jain Temple, Vile Parle (E)
Contact: 66711600

Tea Lounge Coffee Shop: Head to Tea Lounge at the Oberoi for a high class tea break. This 5-star coffee shop offers a variety of gourmet teas for you to sip on, while you relax and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea and the Malabar Hill skyline. Tea Lounge is open till 12.30 pm, so it’s ideal for an after-dinner or movie pit stop,

Must try: Chamomile Tea (`325)
Where: Oberoi Towers, Nariman Point
Contact: 66325757

Chai Coffi: This tiny shop is right at the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city, but it’s a wonderful place to hold a business meeting, read a book or sit alone with your cup of tea. You can choose from an array of teas and enjoy snacks that include paninis and sandwiches.

Must try: Organic Nilgiri Tea (`65)
Where: Shop no. 1 & 2, Beach Queen CHSL, J.P. Rd, Versova, Andheri (W).
Contact: 66714141
Kyani & Co.: Chai goes hand in hand with Irani cafes and Kyanis is a great place to have chai and special khari (salty) biscuits in a perfectly intact Irani café ambience.
Must try: Traditional Irani Chai (`10)
Where: 657, Jer Mahal Estate, Opposite Metro Cinema, Dhobi Talao
Contact: 22011492

Yauatcha: The newly opened Michelin starred tea house offers a variety of Chinese and Indian loose leaf teas. You can choose from an exotic selection of European pastries, brightly colored macaroons and fine teas which are available to buy packaged as well. They also have signature tea smoothies, blended together with an array of fresh fruit juices.

Must try: The Plum Cut Larissa Tea Smoothie (`275)
Where: Raheja towers, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E)
Contact: 26448888

The Table: The Champagne High Tea menu at the Table is a huge hit. Indulge in teas and snacks such as cucumber sandwiches and pastries. They have special bite sized treats such as Smoked Salmon with Dil Cream, Almond Financier and Fruit Tartlets. Trust us, it’s worth a visit.

Must try: Afternoon Tea (`400-900) including tea, pastries and bite sized treats
Where: The Table, Kalash Peshi Building, C.S.Maharishi Marg, Apollo Bunder, Colaba
Contact: 22825000

A tea party isn’t just for kids. It’s a great way to meet up with your friends without the pressures of a full fledged dinner party. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when throwing a tea party:

  • Make sure you have a separate table set up with different types of tea, hot water, cups, saucers, teaspoons, sugar cubes and tongs, lemon wedges, a pot of milk and a bowl for used tea bags.
  • Prepare refreshments that are finger foods. Things such as cucumber sandwiches work best with tea as do cookies, cakes and bite sized pastries. You can set them out on cake stands.
  • If you’re serving and eating at a table, set out plates, napkins and utensils there. Otherwise, have a separate section where people can pick them up from as they walk around and socialise.

Here’s a lowdown on a few teas you can try out:
Oolong Tea: This tea is smooth and sophisticated.
Compressed Tea: These come in a variety of tea cakes, tea bricks and Pu'erh tea.
Organic Tea: This is cultivated under organic rules.
Herbal Tea: These are infusions made with herbs, fruit and flowers.

If you’d like to brew your own cup and want some speciality teas, head down to one of the following shops. They have Indian and international teas in the form of powders, tea bags and instant sachets.

HyperCITY: Link Road, Malad (W)
Godrej Nature’s Basket: Outlets across the city
Oscar Collections: Alfa 1, Irla, Vile Parle (W)
Regal: Pali Naka, Bandra (W)
Santès: Pali Market, Pali Naka, Bandra (W)
Organic Bounty:
Conscious Food:
Tea Culture Of The World:

Steep it right
Don’t over or under steep your tea. Different types of tea need to be steeped differently to bring out the best flavours:
Green Tea: Needs to steep for about 2 to 3 minutes
Black Tea: Needs to steep for about 3 to 5 minutes
White Tea: Needs to steep for about 1 to 3 minutes

Sometimes, preparing an entire spread for a tea party is quite an effort. But, Petite Faux is here to save the day. Deiandra Fernandes and Devanshi Patel from Petite Faux are known for their authentic home baking and they have a range of tea cakes and pastries. From brownies and sweets to cookies, pastries and quiches — you can take your pick from a range of great sweet treats.
Contact: Deiandra: 9821844636 and Devanshi: 9920047070

Tea cups and pots we love!
Twisted tea: For a twist to your tea party, serve your tea with the help of this cup set from HitPlay. Called the Cactus Cup set, the porcelain cups resemble a cactus plant when it’s stacked up. Each cup comes in different sizes, so everyone can pick their favourite. It comes with a matching snack dish and looks great at the tea table.

Price: `3,399

Start small: Silver miniature teacups are great for a shot of tea. The black and silver combination gives them a touch of elegance while their design keeps them subtle.
Price: `6,400
Where: Episode Silver, Lower Parel

Bursts of colour: If you’re not one for elegant teas and want a steaming hot cup of chai instead, these vibrant cutting chai glasses from Serenity give tea time an extra burst of colour and style.
Price: Set of six for `950
Where: Serenity, Bandra (W)

A little bent: These strange moon shaped cups and teapot are simple and white but the unique design really caught our eye.
Price: `2,599

Back to black: Resembling chai glasses with a twist, these double-walled porcelain tea cups (bottom left) make it easier for you to hold your hot drinks. The stylish black gives them a cool edge.
Price: `2,630
Where: Home Collective, Chowpatty

Tea for one: Adorable little sets of one kettle and a cup, these are perfect for that solitary cup of tea. They come in the shape of postboxes as well as telephone boxes and are vibrant, attractive and such fun!
Price: `875
Where: Wasted Fish, Pali Naka, Bandra (W)

These tweaks should help you to maximise the several benefits that tea has and get the most out of your cup of tea:
DO: Add spices
Adding flavour to your tea with a few spices will give you added benefits. Cinnamon, for example, can help control blood sugar, while nutmeg can help regulate your digestive tract.
DON'T: Add milk to your tea
Mixing milk with tea actually decreases the health properties of tea leaves. If you're looking to reap some of the cancer-fighting powers from your daily cup of tea, make sure you leave the dairy out.

DO: Add lemon to tea
Try brightening up your tea with a squeeze of lemon. Adding a little citrus to a cup of green tea brings out the antioxidant power of the brew.
DON’T: Over brew
Over brewing the leaves lowers the amount of antioxidants, so most teas should only steep for three to five minutes. Green and white teas should be steeped in water that's slightly below boiling point.

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