Mumbai Chai Walk In The Rains
What can be better than having a hot cup of tea in the rains? I know my friend Kainaz Karmakar will say coffee.She is probably Starbucks' biggest fan and has been to many of their branches the world over.
I like both but on an average day,I am a tea person.I have ginger tea at breakfast,peach and apricot tea in the evening and green tea on occasion.I have had Hot Apple Tea,Morroccan Mint Tea and Kashmiri Kawah.Heard of the Tibetan Rock Salt and Yak Butter Tea to keep out the cold.
Was quite excited to read the announcement of the Mumbai Chai Walk by Snigdha Binjola Manchanda,a stunner of a tea sommelier who runs the Tea Trunk
We started off with Cutting Chai at the Kumar Chai Stall which is near the Bombay Stock Exchange.This was started years ago and Cutting Chai is said to have originated in this area...to ensure hospitality by traders to a lot of people without turning it expensive...cutting chai is half a glass.Today you will find this in all street corners
We watched them make us strong tea with ginger and mint ....absolutely fabulous in this weather.We had to hold on to our umbrellas as it had started raining thought not too heavily..
In no time,the glasses were empty as were the glucose biscuits they served with it,reminding us of our childhood.
We stood below the banyan tree under which traders used to conduct business years ago.Snigdha talked of various types of teas...green,black,white,oolong.....all of which come from the same plant Camellia Sinensis.She also enlightened us about what CTC tea stands for....Crush,Tear and Curl!
We passed Starbucks on the way.....did u know they have a Chai Latte? :) So which is better,tea or coffee? Tea has antioxidants and less caffeine.It's best to have both in moderation taking care about what you add to it so that the calories do not increase.
We walked by St Thomas' Cathedral which is zero km Mumbai.Distances are measured from here.
Then we went to Yazdani,an Irani cafe (so few left in the city) and had Irani Chai,which has less water.
and Sulaimani Chai....lemon black tea...no milk but with sugar
They served it with buns which had the delightful surprise element of a raisin and with butter
The place was packed.The smell of bread baking was lovely.They make whole wheat buns too.
Then we walked to the Govt run Tea Centre.This has a host of teas and we tried the First Flush Darjeeling.The top inch and a half to two are plucked for tea.This is called the Flush.The First Flush is that which is harvested after winter.We sipped the tea like champagne and chatted,making a note of its Muscatel flavor.
Sitting down at the Tea Centre,we were able to connect with the other participants....an entrepreneur,travel guide,journalists and designers.Learnt something new from each of them.Vivek,an IT entrepreneur has great leadership qualities and is well read.Aditi,a nutritionist who also does ribbon embroidery taught me about the art of making good tea at home.Ramanand is a travel guide who has interest in Organic Farming and Resource Conservation and takes people to farms.There was the owner of Parvati Villa whose sense of dressing I loved! There were others whose names I don't remember but who were friendly and helpful.Heartening to know this is our Mumbai!