While we’ve all been ooh and aah-ing over the exquisiteness of coffee, slowly its humbler cousin, tea, has picked up pace and is set to get ahead in the race. It is no longer a typical melange of water, milk, sugar and tea leaves; India’s favourite beverage is looking to reclaim its crown- and how! These cafes are requiting your love for tea, one cup at a time.
Whether you’re a tea connoisseur exclusively, or enjoy your cuppa with a bite, we bring to you our favourite tea joints across the city.
Sancha Tea Boutique
If labels just don’t do it for you, then Sancha is your heaven. In the business for over 35 years, they really do know what they’re talking about, and will happily share their knowledge and guide you. One of the first tea boutiques in Delhi, it offers over 65 varieties of teas, such as Black, Oolong, Green, White, and flavoured. They don’t just want to sell you tea, they want you to have an experience- at Sancha you can observe how they brew their teas, get a tasting and be assisted in finding a brew that suits your taste buds perfectly. Head here and you’ll surely leave with a smile on your face and warmth in your belly!
We caught up with Suhail Kapur from Sancha over a cuppa tea (what else?), who said, “Sancha is a place to discover the perfect cup for you. The tea sommeliers take you through a journey of teas, each specific to their terroir. Drinking Tea for health is catching on today. Tea has been revered for its health benefits in China for thousands of years, in fact there was a time when tea was regarded as a medicine in China. So we have woken up very late, we should have been drinking more tea!”
He mentioned that their master blender and taster has curated over 100 blends, each a signature of his vast experience and reputation in the tea industry for forty years. #SOLD #100Days100TeasPromise
Tip: If you’d like to recreate the experience, you can choose from their select collection of tea accessories and teas (duh!) to take home.
Sip it here: 20, Santushti Shopping Arcade, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi and 209, DLF Crosspoint Mall, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon.
The Tea Place by Manjushree
This quaint tea cafe gets all ‘A’s. The interiors are on a mission to charm you, and so is their friendly staff. They’ve maintained the focus on tea, and have minimalist food options. From all-time favourites to experimental flavours, The Tea Place by Manjushree has it all on the menu. No, really, how often do you find Blackcurrant & Cornflour Petals tea? They gladly involve you in the brewing process of your chosen quirky tea, and make their snacks as delectable as the teas! This cafe is perfect if you’re looking for some quiet time with your cuppa.
Sip it here: 8, Ground Floor, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket, New Delhi
A relatively new addition to the city’s tea story, Tea Trails is already catching up in popularity. If you can’t choose between niche and mainstream, congratulations, you’ve found your safe place! Tea Trails offers tea types from all over the world- Argentina, Japan, Russia, South Africa, China and Britain. Feeling more desi? They also have an exhaustive selection of Indian teas. While they bring you the subtle teas such as Oolong, White, Green, etc., they also give it a modern twist with their tea mocktails and coolers and bubble teas. Not just the beverage, Tea Trails is big on their food menu as well- chomp away to glory while you sip on that tea!
Sip it here: 9, Scindia House, Opposite N Block, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Anandini- The Tea Room
Anandini Tea Room is what you get when you embark on a journey out of pure love for tea. The Tea Room is a space where you can experiment and discover the nuances of the beverage, it nudges its customers towards trying new concoctions, and exploring beyond the standard varieties. You’ll find a wide range of light teas infused with natural flavours, sourced from a single tea estate (their own Manjhee Valley Estate)- which is basically the single malt of teas! Their love for tea isn’t limited to serving a great experience, they take it seriously and conduct tea workshops and high teas for those who’d like to share the love.
We chatted with Anamika Singh of the lovely Anandini Tea Room over freshly infused cold tea, where she tells us that she was drawn to becoming the second woman Tea Taster in the country as it solicited the raised eyebrow. She says, “What one sips, one just feels one should share! If I can sip the finest, then why can’t I introduce you to something as fine?”
The Tea Room isn’t just a business for her, it’s a personal journey with something sacred to her, “I love the concept of everyone being around a table, talking, writing, discussing while sipping pots of tea. It reminds me of the days back then when one would huddle around a fire and talk our hearts out.”
Talking about whether Delhi is experimenting with its tea, Anamika quips, “Well, yes and no! It is more on the lines that till the time they don’t sip, they will never know.” And that’s where her tea workshops save the day! She adds that people are growing aware of the two leaf and a bud, they do explore the beverage during their travels, but are yet to recognise that one of the finest teas are produced by India itself.
To enjoy the nuances of tea, “Chuck out all that is in a bag! All the tea bags need to be removed. When buying tea, know the source! When you can think about the food that you eat and the wine that you sip, then why won’t you bother about this beverage which you invariably sip at least five times a day!”, she says.
Sip it here: 10 A, DDA Shahpurjat, New Delhi.
Asia Tea House
Asia Tea House is an established authority on quality tea. Not as fanciful as the more recent tea boutiques, but they believe they only need their tea to provide you with a wonderful experience. And they’re right! The owner will excitedly share the details of the tea harvesting process, and even offer you a tasting. The Tea House specialises in Indian teas and offers you a whole range of spice and vanilla teas. They accompany their teas with a few select snacks, which only make the experience more delish! If you’re looking for a simple & straightforward tea time, then this is the place to be.
Sip it here: 12, Sundernagar Market, New Delhi
We loved exploring the newbie teas, but our loyalty to the good-old Masala Chai is here to stay! Here’s a quick recipe to make your own Masala Chai from scratch (none of those premixes do it for us):
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup water (or less, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon tea leaves (black, preferably)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 peppercorns
- 3 pieces of allspice
- 2 pieces of star anise
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger (sliced)
- Take all the spices except ginger, and mash them together using a mortar & pestle
- Now place this mixture, along with all the other ingredients in a large pot
- Let it cook on medium-high until boiling, allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes after that
- Once the tea has turned a milky-brown colour, take it off the stove
- Strain the tea into a cup, and sip like a boss
Sometimes being in your chai-comfort-zone is just what you need!