“Let’s meet for a cup of coffee.”
“Chai loge ya thanda?” [Will you tea or something cold? – to guests at home]
These two typical sentences are indicative of how Indians perceive tea and coffee. We guzzle tea at home but relish a cup of coffee in a fine cafe. The proof is in the numbers: according to a newspaper report in 2014, “83.8% of all urban households consume tea at home. Only one in 12 urban households drink coffee.”
India is the second largest producer of tea after China and we are the largest consumers of tea in the world. Yet we have only a few tea lounges.
Tea has been a poor cousin of coffee as far as posh cafes or lounges are concerned. Green or herbal teas still find a mention on menu at different places but the brewed masala chai is a rare find. Roadside chai is, of course, ubiquitous. I became a tea addict in Ahmedabad where kitlee (roadside tea shops) are more popular than cafes. Sadly, the culture is not in Delhi barring the stalls near office areas.
As far as stylish lounges are concerned, the good news is that the change is now brewing. Until recently, the choices have been extremely limited. Cha Bar (at Oxford Bookstore) is the only place that came to mind to satiate my craving for tea outside home. Now, there are brands like Chaayos, Bubble Tea Cafe catering to the needs of tea guzzlers.
Yet another brand expanding its presence in this segment is Wagh Bakri (India’s third largest packaged tea brand). The brand has launched a stylish tea lounge in Connaught Place, Delhi. The company has already opened such lounges in other parts of Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Offering a calm ambiance, the lounge is every tea over’s delight. It serves over 45 varieties of tea, such as Darjeeling and Assam teas, organic teas, flavored teas, Nilgiri tea, Oolong tea, tea mocktails, and even ice-cream tea. Accompanying the beverage are snacks like Panini, Vada Pav, Veg Focaccia, chocolate brownie, muffin et al. However, we feel more Indian snacks like samosa, and bum omelette will be classic.
Price: One cup of tea: Rs 50
Location: L Block, Connaught Place
Other outlets in Delhi: Netaji Subhash Place, GK 1, Lajpat Nagar
Although my loyalties are more with coffee, it is refreshing to see such lounges as options for places to catch up with friends or sit back and read a book.
Do you have a cool tea lounge in your city/country? Tell us about it, we’d love to know about it!