The setting is perfect for a tea tasting evening. A pristine white, quaint little chalet, tucked under green foliage at the Lavelle Road – Vittal Mallya Road junction, San-Cha Tea Boutique evokes an old world charm. As you enter, the warm lighting and a concoction of tea fragrances greet your senses.
The Wall of Tea History and a large framed picture of the Master Tea Taster, Sanjay Kapur make this boutique appear like a tea sanctum sanctorum. But a few steps ahead, and the smiling faces of Theiya Ragui, boutique manager and her team dispel your perplexing thoughts. “We have a variety of teas — White, Green, Herbal and Oolong, apart from Masala Chai and the President’s Tea,” explains Ragui.
White Tea, they explain is made from baby buds and has the highest concentration of anti-oxidants. While we were all ears listening to Ragui about the origin of white tea, her teammate was busy brewing Silver Needles Rose White Tea for us to sample. Lightly rose-flavoured and sweet, it seemed to be a good option to start with, for an unhurried tea-tasting that was to follow.
Then it was the turn of Silver Needles Lavender White Tea. This was the perfect match for our palate. The lightly sweet tea leaves an aromatic after taste. It’s a safe pick for those who are first-time tea tasters. This was just the beginning. Next, the Sikkim Tea With A Bourbon-Like Caramel Finish was served. Ragui was visibly delighted serving this particular blend. “It gives you the taste of Bourbon Whiskey,” she cautioned us. The tea definitely validated her concern. A very strong flavour hits your palate leaving behind complex caramel notes.
The royal blends
Finally, it was time to try the President’s Tea — often part of the President’s (and sometimes Prime Minister of India’s) goodwill gift package to counterparts from other countries. “It comes in three grades, First Flush — tea picked during spring, Second Flush — picked during summer and the Third Flush — picked during autumn,” explains Ragui. The best of the lot was definitely the First Flush. A strikingly bitter leafy flavour, this is perhaps the finest tea that best represents the taste of India.
We tasted an assorted few, but take your time to choose the perfect blend for your palate. It’s complimentary, after all!
On Lavelle Road.
— Ayesha Tabassum