This weekend brings to us not just the end of the fateful year 2015 but also an end to the holiday season. It’s finally time to recuperate, prepare yourself for the dreaded return to your daily college/work life, and let’s not even talk about fighting post-holiday blues and the depression that creeps in when we think of another freaking year gone by, faster than you can finish a cup of chai. (You see what I did there? Hehe.)
Hence here is our suggestion as to what you can do to try and rejuvenate yourself while preparing for the daunting task of facing the year 2016. As a typical Indian, when I say “rejuvenate” the first thing that comes to my mind is a “garam chai ki pyaali” (which means a sizzling hot cup of tea).
Why not give the age-old favourite “Indian” beverage tea a try? A beverage that has Jaipur going crazy over it, with a number of “Tea-terias” specialising in the same opening all over the Pink City.
An article in The Times of India contemplated over the reasons why Jaipurites are going gaga over this (reasons enough for you to give it a try too!). According to this article, the reasons might be the benefits that tea poses over coffee and other beverages health wise; how it’s an inherently Indian beverage; the way almost every Indian associates tea with “subah ki chai” and relates it with gossip and socialising with people close (and not so close). “Chai” or “Tea” is something that was never gone, so it doesn’t really need a come-back.
But these tea-terias and the tea culture they have spurred into motion, has definitely given that hot cup of tea a makeover. From masala chai to ginger tea, herbal tea and milk teas, these tea-terias have a variety of teas for you to choose from, and snacks to go with them which further enhance the flavour of our favourite hot beverage.
So without further adieu here are our three favourite tea-terias that promise a wonderfully different experience, even though the beverage they patronise might be the same.
1. ThirsTea – The Teateria
A small, quaint place in the middle of one of the most popular areas of Jaipur – Gaurav Towers. People come here to escape the life above, both literally, because ThirsTea is set in a basement which only adds to its charm, and metaphorically because the ambience and the vibe of the place seem to function in a time-zone of their own.
The walls are creatively decorated, which prove to be an interesting read because they have health facts on tea (#SpoonHealth) written all over them. With soft music and minimalistic decorations, ThirsTea provides the perfect place for one to enjoy personal meetings or even one’s own company while savouring a cup of amazing Adhrak Chai (Ginger tea).
Moving on to the item that literally pulled me to this place. ThirsTea offers over a 100 varieties of tea! From the Indian favourites of milk-based chai like Masala chai, Kali Mirch ki chai and Sauf ki chai, to herbal teas to even iced teas (30 varieties available), to exotic teas like The Blooming Flower tea and Moroccan Mint tea. These are not only healthy and a delight for your taste buds, but literally take you on a journey to remember because of the way they please all your senses. From its aesthetically appealing presentation to the aroma it surrounds you with as it is brewed on your table in front of you, ThirsTea’s tea will always make you come back for more.
ThirsTea was started with an aim to educate people about the benefits of drinking tea. And the theme of health resounds throughout their menu of snacks too, though it does not compromise on the taste.
#SpoonRecommends: Exotic Garlic Bread, ThirsTea Pasta, Oats Upma
Price for two: Rs. 400-500
“Chai jaisa” (like tea) – it doesn’t really have a meaning; it is something that basically resounds with the theme of chai with a Marwari touch.
Sitting in the background of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha and surrounded with the tuition hub of Lal Kothi area which ensures a constant supply of students, Chaisa brings back the youthful “adda feel”, something lost in modern life what with fine-dinning and expensive coffee-culture taking over.
The decor is based on a European theme, but what make it endearing are the quirky chai-related graffitis on the wall, the friendly staff and the laughter and joy that the place is full of which ultimately gives it a vibe you have to experience to know! Chaisa is the perfect place for a jolly friends’ reunion, gossip party, or family time – basically enjoying the company of friends and family while reminiscing over old memories, making new ones or even complaining about the present ones, over not one but multiple cups of their special teas. Carrying on with the theme of bringing back the old impersonal “adde waali chai”, it isn’t about one single cup of chai but rounds of chai you enjoy with your friends.
The place has a variety of teas, from milk to green tea to iced tea and even coffee if you are stupid enough to ask for one while sitting in Chai-sa.
Their Kullar ki chai – tea served in those traditional earthen pots – is something you cannot miss. The feel of holding that warm kullar filled with piping hot tea which has an aroma of its own is inexplicable. Your taste buds are hit with a burst of flavours of spices like Elaichi, Kali mirch and Sontth. This combination of taste and smell is an experience that stays with you long after you are done with your first cup and leaves you wanting more.
Besides the beverages, the food items they offer are, as they put it, nothing special but something that is common man’s food. Already adjusted to the Indian palate, these items hence compliment the taste of the teas provided here all the more.
#SpoonRecommends: Vada-Pav, Exotic Pizza
Price for two: Rs. 200-300
Tapri means: “A shed composed on jugaad for the purpose of serving tea and light meals to people around.” And the restaurant Tapri has stuck to the theme down to the tiniest of detail.
From having a thatched roof like that of a hut to having furniture with a rustic and an old theme which resembles that of an actual Thadi, though more comfortable, to their hilariously creative menu and the way they serve tea and food items – in traditional utensils, wooden boards and utensils made of leaves. It is located in C-Scheme and overlooks the central park, with both indoor and outdoor sitting arrangement. The experience of sipping a hot cup of their masala chai with Parle-G biscuits (like a ritual, they serve a packet with each kettle of tea) and dunking the biscuit in the piping hot tea while you look at the sunset in the background of the Indian flag, flying because of the soft evening breeze, is an experience…*sigh*
It is busy during most days because of the quality and quantity of amazing food they offer. One of the features that make Tapri endearing and so popular (besides free wi-fi) is that it is ageless. Let me explain: it caters to the needs of all its customers. You may be a stressed out college student looking for respite from studies or a 70-year-old who is just looking for a cup of tea, you will love it equally. The ambience, the charm, the vibe and the enthusiasm of the place caters to the needs of all.
Like all the above entries, Tapri too boasts of its own range of amazing teas. Here is a fun fact: though all tea-terias offer masala chai, every restaurant has a masala chai of their own. It is uniquely their own because each place has a unique blend of spices that they use and a different method to prepare it. Tapari’s unique iced teas like Hibiscus and Blackcurrant iced tea are must-try.
Their huge range of snacks across various cuisines like Indian, Italian and Mexican, are included in the menu with quirky titles like “Poha and Puma” innovative descriptions like “ann jo tann ko lagge” for proteins.
#SpoonRecommends: Namkeen Shots, Vada Pav, Khakra Pizza
Price for two: Rs. 400-500
Chai is a beverage that was never really gone, and as the owners of all tea-terias tried to emphasise, tea is a beverage that is inherently Indian, healthy, sweet and one that brings people close. This is because in India it has always been associated with friendship, laughter and gossip, and because of these very things it refuses to go away. Beverages like coffee, milkshakes and sodas might come and go, but tea is here to stay because it is not only a beverage but an experience. So this New Year’s, try this experience once again.