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    Forget single-origin coffee, premium tea is a must-buy

    The quest for the perfect cup of tea just got easier. Calcutta-based start-up, The Tea Shelf, sources the finest teas from estates across the country, promising to deliver fresh leaves directly to your door, so that you can create the perfect brew at home.
    Beyond chai
    The brainchild of husband and wife duo Srinidhi and Atulit Chokhani, the e-store currently stocks varieties sourced from select estates in Kangra, Darjeeling, Dooars, Assam, Nilgiri and Munnar. “I come from a family of tea planters, and wanted to take the beverage forward,” shares Srinidhi, adding that, “While tea is the country’s most popular hot drink, it’s still difficult to get pure tea at your local supermarket.” That said, the company was founded because the demand for more specialist teas is growing. At the moment, bestsellers include the Glendale Nilgiri Oolong (a light tea with a delicate cinnamon and honey taste) and the Billimalai Nilgiri Virgin Green, another mellow tea with notes of lime.
    In selecting the best varieties and estates, the Chokhanis enlisted the help of a team of ‘tea tasters’, as well as the expertise of J Thomas, one of the oldest tea auction houses in the world. “We also make sure that all of our teas are fresh, as anything older than a year starts to lose its aroma and flavour,” says Srinidhi, who also shares that the teas are Rainforest Alliance certified. ‘Sampler sets’ are available if you’re unable to make up your mind, and shipping is free across India. “People are beginning to think about the origin of tea in the same way they might of wine, so while it’s early days for us, we only expect the market to grow,” he signs off.
    `425 upwards.
    Details: theteashelf.com
    — Maegan Dobson Sippy

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