Storm in a tea cup

Storm in a tea cup

The original tea boutique shop of Delhi is back in business. The wildly popular Cha Bar of Oxford Bookstore, which had been closed down in 2011, is now brewing tea again, right next to the Statesman House where it was originally located.

The new Oxford Bookstore is a vibrant, colourful hangout place for youngsters. And the Cha bar is the perfect accompaniment for bookworms who like to spend hours reading a book with a cup of chai in hand. Mark Lemnamei, Store manager, informs us, “We have always wanted to have a food facility within the bookstore so that book lovers don’t have to venture to a nearby McD or CCD.”

But, mind you it is not just a chai stall. Along with your regular reading, here, you can do a PhD thesis on tea varieties alone. They have a jaw-dropping 155 varieties of tea. These range from the daily masala chai – an invigorating blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove and black pepper – to single estate Assam teas – grown in their own farms in the hilly State.

Then there are half-a-dozen varieties in Darjeeling (First flush, Second flush, Gold, Hand rolled etc), Breakfast teas (English, Irish, Flury’s), Nilgiri (Tiger and Craigmore), Sikkim, Nepal and Ceylon teas. Then there are the aromatic flowering teas – Chrysanthemum, Jasmine, Rose, Marigold among others, Rainbow teas (those with multiple colours), Green, Oolong, Chinese, Indian herbal (tulsi, gulab, banapsha etc), Fruit, even Organic, Decaf and Diet teas.

Their best-selling, though, are the cultural preparation teas. The Arabic spice is a beauty to behold – light orange served in an ornate gold Arabic tea set. The Arabic mint is served in another kind of ceramic tea set. Apparently, they have a distinct tea set for every singly kind of tea. So you’ll get South African Rooibos, Russian caravan, Kashmiri kahwa, Ladakhi cha and Japanese matcha in all different kinds of layouts.

Their snacks – again a huge array – tasty and freshly brought from the Park Hotel – are a big hit with the visitors. Their wraps – kebab meshwi wraps with hummus, ginger chicken tikka wrap etc. - are a crime to miss. And even their burgers and sandwiches – due to a liberal sprinkling of vegetables – are an enormously healthy bite.

The teas, of course, remain a favourite. Geetika Chongkohm, a media professional says, “I have come here so many times but till now I have been able to try seven teas only. There isn’t one I can say I didn’t like. I think it will take me many more visits to have them all. Cha bar and its teas are a discovery just like Oxford Bookstore’s books.”     

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