Over a cup of tea

Over a cup of tea
Bengaluru’s sheer variety of clubs comes as no surprise, but a gathering for tea lovers could be just what the city has been missing. ‘It’s Our Cuppa Tea’ is the city’s answer to tea lovers and enthusiasts who want to nurture and share their love for the drink.

The community for tea appreciation was started by Susmita Dasgupta, a personal brand coach, when she worked with a London-based tea company. The research that she had to do introduced her to the wonders of the world of tea.

 “I realised that most of the tea in the world is sourced from India but we are not aware of the fine tea we produce,” she says. She noticed that people in the city didn’t particularly know how to enjoy tea, and took it upon herself to share this knowledge with others. “There are so many ways of drinking tea. For instance, many people don’t know that tea can be used in wine and cocktails,” she adds.

A Facebook page created by Susmita 3 years ago kickstarted the club and since then they have had more afternoon tea parties than they can count.

Word of mouth too has helped these ardent tea lovers seek out their kindred spirits. “A friend of mine who knew of my love for tea told me about this club and I said ‘Why not?’, recalls Suzanna. The members make sure to get together at least every alternate month to attend afternoon tea parties. These tea parties always have a theme like Christmas in December or Valentine’s Day in February. In May, the theme was ‘summer’ due to the inescapable heat. The meet-ups normally take place at Infinitea, and include tea tasting and trying out new foods to accompany different kinds of tea. “We usually order at least 5 different teas and try out foods that compliment each of these teas. We discuss the aroma, texture, plantations the tea should be extracted from and many other things,” says Nikhilesh, who regularly blogs about all food related things.

It’s not all serious though. Maria Victor, a member of the group, says, “It’s a really good experience and an opportunity to meet new people with similar interests.” Susmita too thinks of it as a fantastic way to make new friends who share the ardent love for tea. “It’s always an interesting group of people with a great passion for tea,” she says.

Others like Sagar Garg, an entrepreneur, say that he didn’t even know that there were so many different types of tea available in the market. “I joined this club as Susmita is an alumni of the same institute I studied at. She invited me to join the club and I’m so glad that I did. Before I joined the club, I had no clue that there were so many varieties of tea. The teas I knew were the simple branded teas prepared at home, ‘masala’ tea and ‘ginger tea’.” Sagar was additionally impressed by the fact that there was a certain way of drinking certain teas — some needed to be stirred while some were accompanied with jam. “The group also gave me an opportunity to meet other like-minded people and interact with people from all walks of life.”

The best part about the group is that being a tea connoisseur is not a prerequisite to participate in their activities. Just an interest in learning about the beverage and networking with new people is enough. Bharat Bhusan admits, “I wasn’t into tea initially. I didn’t like regular tea the way it’s made with milk and sugar but when I was introduced to different varieties and tastes by ‘It’s Our Cuppa Tea’, I became interested in the drink.” In fact, the group encourages non- tea lovers to join them on their journey. “We are trying to attract newcomers — people who don’t know how tea should be had.”

(The club can be reached at 9945560612).

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