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Chai is no longer merely the old-fashioned, milky brew boiled relentlessly with spices that we grew up having. It is now available in several avatars thanks to lifestyle changes and discerning well-travelled customers. From a simple ‘cutting chai’ to the most exotic speciality teas and from floral iced teas to handcrafted teas, there is something to appease every palate in Mumbai. Drinking tea is clearly fashionable once again as people in Mumbai seem to have rediscovered this beverage. Elegant tea rooms and cafes have mushroomed in the city offering a mind-boggling variety of teas and are thronged by tea lovers at any time of the day.
Taj Mahal Tea House, Bandra-
This place is replete with the old world charm and grandeur of an elegant British tea room. Bright, cheerful and spacious, it allows you to relax immediately, whether alone or with friends. Tucked away in Bandra, this cosy place is a tea lover’s delight. There are several teas on their menu, but their spiced tea toddy style, is matchless. Equally unique and invigorating is the karipatta delight tea. And if a hot cuppa is not what you are seeking, rejuvenate yourself with the fresh citrusy lemongrass ice tea. It is bound to perk you up. Plenty of nibbles, salads and desserts, to add to your tea experience if you are hungry.
This chain, which has brought back the concept of chai and adda – chatting and relaxing over a cup of tea, is one of the most sought after places in the city for tea. Their ‘meriwali chai’ or chai as you like it, gets one’s vote immediately. One cannot visit this place and not sip their ‘kulhad chai’ or tea served in an earthenware glass. This traditional aromatic masala chai with saffron is an absolute treat.
Tea Villa Café, Chembur-
One can spend an entire day here sipping different types of teas. Not only do they serve the finest quality teas, but also brew these right and that’s what makes all the difference to someone who enjoys tea. The array of black teas on offer here is overwhelming. The cranberry tea is interesting as it is sweet and satisfies your dessert cravings and yet has a tangy after taste. If green tea is your calling, the mildly flavoured elderflower lemon is perfect.
Sea Lounge, Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai-
Afternoon tea never tastes better anywhere else in the city. With great tea offerings and a view to match, this is the quintessential haven for a tea lover in Mumbai. The place exudes a charm that is unparalleled and sipping a delicate sungma first flush Darjeeling tea here with cakes, sandwiches and desserts from a three-tier elegant stand is an experience by itself. Of course there are plenty of green, oolong, toasted teas to choose from as well.
Cha Bar, Churchgate-
The name itself puts you at ease. The sound of ‘cha’ makes you comfortable. The cosy location in a book store further makes this place sought after. The menu offers a plethora of options. Their in house blends are worth a try. The aromatic and light Moroccan mint boasts of subtle flavours and relaxes you, while the chocolate hot tea is apt for those with a sweet tooth. Oolong, Assam, herbal, organic, flavoured teas – Cha Bar offers them all and one is really spoilt for choice.
Food critic, features writer and columnist, Mini Ribeiro is a qualified Journalist, from IIMC New Delhi. She specialises in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality space. As an established food & beverage writer, Mini currently contributes to several leading English publications across the country – Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Sunday Financial Express, Hotelier India, Go Getter and Vistara inflight magazines and Rediff.com. She also has her own You Tube channel called Mini’s Food Fundas. Fond of cooking, Mini enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with various cuisines, with Indian regional food, being her favourite. She has recently started, a platform for home talent, called 'Flavours from Home', an initiative which aims to make women who are passionate about cooking, entrepreneurs.