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Features

Coffee is passé: Tea becomes the hottest beverage amongst the millennia

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BENGALURU: Take a seat. Pop in the bubblegum served. Sip on the hot berry brew right after. This is bubblegum tea served ceremoniously at the tea room at Burma Burma eatery in Indiranagar. Next time, drop the coffee and visit the tea lounge at the lobby of the Sheraton Grand Bangalore hotel to sample its bestseller in rose & French vanilla tea.

Like coffee shops, tea rooms are popping up in Bengaluru. Fancy hotels and premium standalone restaurants are adding exclusive and designated tea bars to keep up with the global trend. Posh and sophisticated, these tea bars take the humble cutting chai to the refined gourmet league.

Nandan Parab, assistant manager F&B at Sheraton Grand, says, “Coffee has become routine. Sampling wines and whiskeys is already popular. People are now keen to try new flavours and tea is a good segment to explore. It is a big part of the Indian culture and makes for quite an experiential ceremony with proper tea pots and fine wares.”

According to Ankit Gupta, cofounder of Burma Burma chain of restaurants, the highest tea sales come from his Bengaluru branch. “About 50% of the revenue comes from the tea room in Bengaluru. Delhi accounts for 30%. Mumbai comes last,” says Gupta, who serves in-house blends and those bought during his travels to countries like Argentina and Taiwan.Radisson Blu Atria hotel here has a dedicated tea and wine lounge where it serves new-age infusions like raspberry and strawberry to tea-based cocktails.

General manager Gaurav Taneja says, “Idea was to be different and be one-up on competition. Corporates, politicians and aspirational youngsters are takers. 65% of our menu has specialty teas.”Tea_ThinkStock

Even Chai Point, the chain of tea stores, has gone posh with bar stools, lounge décor and an experiential tea menu. IT hubs like Whitefield and popular millennial localities like Koramangala and Indiranagar are home to several independent chic tea cafés like My Tea House, Tea Journey and Tea Shot.

India is the largest consumer of tea, accounting for nearly 30% of global tea production, say experts. Indians, apparently, consume tea ten times more than coffee.

The organised market for tea in India was estimated to be around Rs 18,000 crore in 2015.

Tea sommelier Kavita Mathur says, “Exploring tea is the new cool. Millennials are making this lifestyle shift. Bengaluru with its huge population of young techies is a good market.”

To which Nikhilesh Murthy, food blogger and tea enthusiast, adds, “Instagrammable dining is the top trend now and has fuelled the mushrooming of elite tea bars. It’s the statement to make. Tea bars, however, must host workshops like tea-pairing to educate people and become more accessible.”

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