An ode to a brew

An ode to a brew
If you thought tea was all about the cup of ‘chai’ that you so look forward to every morning, you may be wrong. The ‘Tea Festival India’ (TFI), held at JW Marriott Hotel over the weekend, drew attention to the popular brew, its varied styles and many finer nuances that one is usually unaware of.

“The main objective behind organising the festival is to make people aware of the different varieties of tea in India. The beverage has to be properly brewed and enjoyed in a certain way,” said Susmita Das Gupta, from ‘It’s Our Cuppa Tea’, an informal group in the city which organised the festival. Visitors were seen sampling the hot and cold variants of tea at the stalls set up in the hotel lawns. The stall by Tata Global Beverages Limited featured the ayurvedic variety, ‘TeaVeda’, and the ‘Super Green Tea’ in two refreshing flavours. 

While many relished cold cups of ‘Nestea’ from Nestle, some preferred to try the hot ‘Masala Fusion’ tea. The stall by ‘Teamonk’ showcased four different varieties — ‘white’, ‘oolong’, ‘green’ and ‘black’ tea. “Each of these has different variants based on the processing and flavours. White tea is the least processed one with the highest health benefits, followed by green, oolong and black,” explained one of the stall attendants.

‘The Tea Philosophy’ displayed a range of organic and premium Darjeeling and Assam teas. “We also have a fragrant ‘flowery blossom’ tea from Turkey,” said the owner. ‘Ooty Fresh’ had some speciality Nilgiris teas.

‘Goodricke’ from Kolkata dished out exciting tea-based mocktails like ‘CTC East Meets West’, ‘Darjeeling Honey Cooker’ and ‘Unorthodox Mojito’. Meanwhile, ‘Chai Point’ showcased their collection of fine teas which will soon be available at all their outlets. ‘Green Sword’, ‘Kashmiri Kahwa’, ‘Soft Rose’, ‘Mango Bliss’, ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Golden Strawberry Lemonade’ were the flavour variants in the collection. Slices of ‘Banana cake’ and ‘Chai masala cake’ were also available to go with the tea.An open mic poetry session on tea and a sketching session saw active participation. Works of some amateur photographers, pertaining to the theme, were displayed among other things.

A number of paid workshops were also conducted which witnessed a good turnout. ‘Journey of tea’ was taken by Dr Gurmeet Singh wherein he highlighted how tea came into being and has now become the second most consumed beverage in the world. Tea manufacturer and sommelier Anamika Singh conducted two interesting sessions on ‘tea appreciation’ and ‘tea and chocolate pairing’.

Jyoti Bhat took a workshop on ‘Tea and its health benefits’ while Susmita spoke about the basics in the ‘Know your tea’ session. Arun Kumar, a visitor, said, “I am really fond of tea and have a good collection at home. When I heard that this festival is happening, I decided to cancel my outstation trip to be able to attend it. I was happy to see some lovely varieties and blends here.”

Kartik Kannan, a travel photographer and writer, said, “I usually have tea with milk. I didn’t know there was a whole world outside that, with different flavours and aromas. I tried several varieties without milk here and found them to be very relaxing and refreshing. It was a great learning experience for me, more like a virtual travel to different parts of the country through the tongue.”

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