In a country that is renowned for its scenic tea estates and the nukkad chaiwala, it’s a pity that tea lounges are not more common. Tea Trails might just manage to be the game changer and give competition to the ubiquitous coffee houses.
The Tea Explorer includes four types of tea and is accompanied with palmiers, cheese straws and cookies
The tea lounge is a venture by tea lovers Kavita Mathur, Uday Mathur and Ganesh Vishwanathan who travelled around the globe and experienced different tea cultures.
The Burmese Salad was a healthy dish that incorporated fermented tea leaves
On a sultry summer afternoon, we visited the scenic tea lounge that has multiple wooden frames showcasing pretty jar-lamps and maps of countries famous for their teas.
We started off with the Tea Explorer (Rs 250). Almost akin to a sampler, it included 50 ml cups of four varieties of tea. We chose a Chamomile green tea, a smoky Oolong tea, a Himalayan Tisane (caffeine-free tea) and a Fruity Ceylon tea (from the international section). It was served with palmiers, cheese straws and cookies. Our attendant along with the owner Kavita Mathur acted as our guides during the course of the tasting session.
The display at Tea Trails includes interesting tea pots and cups. Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar
The soothing chamomile tea had a distinct floral taste while the traditional Chinese Oolong tea had a rich, smoky flavour and a lingering aftertaste. The subtle Himalayan Tisane’s herbal flavour reminded us of herbal juices. The aromatic Fruity Ceylon tea impressed us for being strong and citric. Each sip was a burst of flavours. The butterfly-shaped sweet palmiers, the tea-infused cookies (too subtle; we couldn’t get a hint of it) and the salty and peppery cheese straws were great bites to accompany the teas.
Next up, we tried the Burmese Salad (Rs 150) infused with fermented tea leaves, which was slightly tangy and accompanied with a delicious garnish made from vinegar, lemon and sesame seeds. It left us wanting for more. The Chocolate Eclair (Rs 95) and Lemon Tarts (Rs 80) as accompanying nibbles were average. The eclairs were dry while the lemon tarts were tasty but left a slight aftertaste of eggyolk. Their tea-infused Pizza (Rs 160) hardly contained a hint of tea and was meagre in chicken toppings and had a chewy base.
Last but not the least, the Taiwanese Mango Flavour Bubble Tea ('130) was our pick of the day. Unlike conventional bubble teas, this one dispensed with the chewy tapioca and replaced it with bubbles that literally popped in the mouth. We are definitely heading there for more.
Time: 9 am to 6 pm
At: The Capital, Bandra Kurla Complex.
Tea Trails didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.
While they already have a lounge at Viviana Mall in Thane, they are poised to start tea lounges at Hypercity Malad and at Oshiwara, in the near future.
Tea trivia, brewed just right
>> Tea bags are an American invention and date back to the early 1800s. Their initial use was to hold samples of teas brought all the way from India.
>> While there are countless varieties of teas, including green tea and black tea, they are all derived from the plant Camellia Sinensis. The variety of tea depends on the subsequent treatment and processing of the leaves.
>> The lesser the processing involved, the greater is the amount of antioxidants the tea has. Thus, green tea has more antioxidants than black tea, and white tea has the most antioxidants.
>> Apart from caffeine, tea also has L-theanine, an amino acid which is known to induce a meditative state and help you relax. It has also been reported to improve memory and decrease anxiety.
>> While tea is believed to have originated in China, Indian tea is the variety most commonly drunk all over the world.
>> Darjeeling tea is often referred to as the Champagne of Teas.
>> Tasseomancy is a form of divination involving tea leaves that originated in ancient China. It is likely to have been spread by the wandering gypsies.