Stop by at Lucky Tea World to choose from over 60 varieties like Jin Jun Mei and Matcha, and learn how to serve them
The moment we step into Lucky Tea World, we’re struck by a sense of calm. Perhaps it’s the Oriental-theme (complete with soothing Chinese music and a paper dragon suspended from the roof) or owner P Sundara Raman’s welcoming smile. We suggest you go with time on your hands, for in addition to aromas of tea to take in, there’s delicate tea sets to admire and a ceremony to indulge in. Started by Raman and his friend Rakesh Malik (the former into real estate and the latter, a fashion jeweller), the store in Shyam Garden complex on KNK Road, was inspired after they witnessed a tea ceremony in Guangzhou, China.
Leaves in vials
“Since then, we’ve visited about 500 tea stores, gone to fairs, tea treks in the mountains and sat with master brewers,” Raman shares, as he takes out a few vials for me to inspect. Each holds a different variety of the leaf — some crushed, some rolled, some whole, etc — and we find around 60 on display at the counter. Spotting a few empty vials, we enquire and learn that since they are importing the teas and selling them under their own brand name (the packaging is done on the first floor of the store), all the products have to go through the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), for testing. “We have 12 varieties on offer at the moment, and in about three months at least 50 will be available,” Raman says, adding that one can expect white, green, red and black teas like Longjing, Tieguanyin, Oolong, Da Hóng Páo and other exotic varieties like Matcha.
Traditions and more
After a quick tour of the accessories — tea bottles, leather and ceramic gift boxes, trays and strainers to steep your tea in — we sit at a table barely three feet off the ground, for a lesson in making tea the Chinese way. Raman places the kettle on the induction plate integrated into the table and begins, “For a green tea, the water should be taken off just as the bubbles appear, or you will end up burning the leaf.” He drops a few pellets of what are called Buddha Pearls (a hand-rolled green tea) into a cup, before adding the hot water. In a few seconds he pours the brew into tiny Chinese tea cups that he handles with a pair of wooden forceps. “The first infusion is used to wash the cups,” he says and pours it out. As we sip on the second infusion of this mild tea with a hint of jasmine, we discuss the other varieties that are coming up, like the Pu-erh for instance. He shows me the compressed cakes of fermented black tea, that are said to become stronger with time. “I’ll be offering a 2008-2010 vintage,” he says, before we repeat the ceremony with Jin Jun Mei — a woody-flavoured tea, made only from the buds — his most expensive at Rs.25,000 a kilo.
Teas from Rs.330 onwards for 100gms. Details: 9940074745
— Ryan Peppin