Saturday, 20 October 2012

Tea: Oh Calcutta!

Thinking of tea... good tea always take me to Calcutta! Oh Calcutta! A tea lover's dream come true where even the "kulhad" chai you get on the streets is an amazing experience... especially after an uncalled-for off-season shower (which you've gotten wet in!)

Some of the tea experiences you should have in Calcutta (if you live there or just go there for a visit!)

Dolly's Tea Shop:

Brilliant! A small shop at Dakshinapan with a seating capacity of about 10 people (and it gets too crowded with that number) serves some of the most elegant tea I've ever had! The unbelievable variety of flavourful teas (of course!) personalised service (the owner is always there at the shop), the regulars, and the ambience of a busy high end bazaar... If you have great company (even if its just that of yourself!) you will have a gala time!

The Little Dolly's Tea Shop!

Mango tea (iced) and Kashmiri Kahwa (hot) at Dolly's tea shop

Apart from serving lovely tea, Dolly's also sells tea leaves, powder of various kinds. I had picked up Earl Grey tea (long leafed loose tea!), white tea and broken orange pekoe for gifts and have gotten great reviews about them. I would vouch for the Earl Grey tea too!

Cha Bar: Oxford Bookstore, Park Street

Located at the Mezzanine level of the Oxford Bookstore (books and tea! such a heady combination for me!), Cha Bar also serves an amazing variety of tea. The ambiance is high end with an amazing array of rarely-available-in-India teas such as the Russian Caravan. I have been to the Cha Bar in Mumbai too, which has a good collection of teas but is literally 5 tables crammed together in the middle of the small Oxford bookstore at Churchgate. Though the teas are worth a visit for if you can't make it to Calcutta!

Cha Bar, Calcutta

Russian Caravan (served so elegantly-check out that gorgeous spoon)

Teapot display at Cha Bar, Calcutta

Apart from that of course as I have already mentioned, the chai you get in kulhads by the street is also brilliant. The reason for this seems to be that all the tea produced in the North east states gets transported to Calcutta first for shipping, of course it gets dibs! And hence the amazing chai!!! :-)