Storm in a cup

Storm in a cup

It is one of the most polarising questions that mankind has ever faced; a question which pits the best of friends against each other - tea or coffee?

Both beverages have a loyal fan following in the country but with International Tea Day here, let's put the spotlight firmly on this humble brew.

"Just thinking about  a cup of tea brings a smile to my face," says  Simrun Chopra, vice president, Equa Real Estate Consulting. "When I  enjoy a cuppa, it's my time to tune out of reality for a brief moment."

Simrun explains how her love affair with the brew started.  "My tryst with this drink  started with my grandfather teaching me to dunk biscuits into his tea. I would invariably leave it in too long and it would melt into his tea, after which I would try and fish it out with a spoon. Every day  my grandfather  would drink his tea happily with bits of biscuits floating around in it. It was our thing together  and remains one of my most precious memories of childhood. I am now letting my son try his hand at it and drinking my tea with bits of biscuits floating in it. But it is not as nice as my granddad made it out to be," she confesses with a laugh.

Bhavana Rameshkumar, director, Chaitanya, says, "My memories associated with tea  are from different occasions. Having long 'chai and conversation' sessions with my girls, sipping  a piping hot cup of tea by myself after  an exam or having tea at work on a stressful day - I don't see any occasion where a cup of good old 'chai' doesn't  fit in."

Bhavana waxes eloquent about the strong hold that the strings of the tea bag have over her heart.

"It  refreshes me like no other beverage. Tea is perfect for any mood or occasion. Although my favourite type of tea is the 'masala chai', I occasionally enjoy a hint of mint in my hot tea.  Also, green tea is something I can't do without on a daily basis since it is healthier and easier to make," she says.

The quintessential 'chai' has  remained an Indian favourite and is a unifying factor across a deeply-divided country. However, tea lovers are  becoming  fastidious about their brew and have taken a leaf out of their foreign  brethren's book (pun intended).

There is now an influx of names like  peppermint tea, lavender tea, raspberry tea, bubble tea and so on.

Says Menaka Bhandary,  "Drinking tea is a celebration of life  - conversations and camaraderie around the bubbling teapot are a source of joy for people around the world and is no different for me and my family. I have always loved a cup of hot tea, be it green tea from China, matcha from Japan or oolong from Darjeeling. This is why I have
included exotic teas on the menu at my blow dry bar 'Blown'."

"Fitness is a huge part of my life and tea helps me  stay healthy by providing the necessary  dose of antioxidants and other essential nutrients," she adds.

 For those who can't get their fill of this drink, there are a variety of tea-infused desserts and dishes that bring the leaf out of the cup to the plate. Cakes, truffles, ice cream, popsicles, rolls, chocolate  - the list is delightfully endless. Tea boutiques are also springing up  all over the place and visitors there can indulge their eyes, ears and nose with a cuppa of the strong, hot drink.

Seems like a cup of tea is definitely everyone's cup of tea. Bring out the fine china then folks, and start sipping!

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