With the monsoons firmly upon us, and even on their way out, our days are rarely complete without a cup of chai by our side. Warm, satisfying and soothing, a good cup of tea is an essential to any person who wants to say they had a life well-lived. Although it’s very easy to opt for your local grocers for a cuppa, it’s not always the healthiest or freshest option. Often, preservatives are added in order to keep the stock fresh and tasty for consumption. We already covered the very best of artisanal coffee brands in the country for you, so in order to find something extra special in the tea department too, we thought we would curate 13 of the best artisanal teas from around the country. Each of these places have their own unique take, from private delivery services to pyramid-shaped tea bags to teas served in glass jars, and we’ve got you down for the best artisanal, naturally produced (and best designed) tea so you can savour every sip this monsoon, stress-free.
I. Dancing Leaf, Mumbai
With a name like “The Dancing Leaf”, how can you expect that this brand wasn’t born out of passion and vision? Creating heady elixirs of teas, spices and herbs that brew a variety of benefits for your weary bodies, this brand caters to every need. For the sake of convenience, the have a selection of loose leaf teas that can also be put into tea bags, so that you can brew your cup on the go while you travel or go to the office. They also have a range of elegant accessories to add that extra special something to your tea adventures.
HG Recommends: Their Egyptian Mint is a delicious black tea with the cooling refreshing taste of mint for a perfect duo. You can pick it up for Rs. 650 for a box of 25 tea temples.
[caption id=”attachment_60619” align=”aligncenter” width=”800”] Image Source: Dancing Leaf[/caption]
II. Exalte, Mumbai
Exalte is a shout out to “exalted” because trust us, that’s the feeling you’re going to get when you take one sip of Exalte’s masterpieces. Serving a premium range of teas sourced from only the best and exotic gardens and locations, Exalte caters to those who are looking for a bit more than just their regular cutting chai.
HG Recommends: The Apple Cinnamon Sangria, which is an revitalizing blend of green tea with the sweet tartiness of an apple and spicy cinnamon. For those of us who are a little careful about cholesterol and weight gain, this tea will provide some much needed comfort. The best part? You get these @ Rs. 350 for 50 Grams
III. Gardner Street Tea, Mumbai
Why Gardner Street, you might ask? Well through the process of creating this brand, the owner lived at 41 Gardner Street, which happened to be the inspiration and “happy place” that allowed this brand to bloom. With ingredients made from the purest nature has to offer, the teas of Gardner Street have no artificial flavours, sweeteners or colours. The tea is offered loose or in special pyramid shaped tea bags that allow the tea to steep to perfection, so that you can taste every sip with robust flavour. For the health conscious, they’ve introduced a line of green teas with their “Wellness Range.”
HG Recommends: We recommend their detox tea, which is a blend of whole bits of lemongrass and ginger in beautifully packaged silken sachets. This aids increasing the metabolic rate, reduces bloating and helps with digestion. It even helps your hair and skin glow with health and makes you feel lighter and more active. We’d say this is perfect on a day when you feel bogged down. Get it for Rs. 450 for 144 grams.
IV. Goodwyn Tea, Assam
If you like your tea to give you the good feels for something more than just its beautiful flavour and aroma, try Goodwyn tea. Created as a platform to sell tea leaves produced at an estate in Assam, whatever you buy from this brand will allow workers at the plantation to live a sustainable life. 6000 tea-makers work tirelessly to bring this brand to fruition, and the brand only deals with single origin teas of the highest quality, so you know exactly where your daily brew is coming from. If that’s a positive way to start your day, we don’t know what is.
HG Recommends: The Golden Summer Tippy is a firm favourite Assam Tea, with the perfect combination of aromatic young leaves and an essence that tastes a bit like red wine, this creates a perfect cup of black tea that you will never forget. It also only costs Rs. 139 for 25 bags, so fill them up!
V.Himherbs, Himachal Pradesh
If you like your tea a bit more unique with some flowers and herbs added, you can’t do any better than the Himalayan Amrit Kangra Herbal Tea. Their green tea is sourced from near Dharamsala and is blended with a cornucopia of mountain herbs and flowers to give you the best to revitalize your body. It’s taste is something that is sure to pamper your tastebuds and tastes incredible. A taste of this tea will bring a freshness and zest to your morning, so we recommend it to start your day with. There are many nutritional aspects to this tea, such as its richness of antioxidants, and promotion of skin and hair health. All in all, it tastes good and it’s healthy, what are you waiting for?
HG Recommends: Their Herbal Combo tea will be the antidote to any ailment or fatigue you feel this monsoon at only Rs. 390.
VI. Jugmug Thela, Delhi
You may have heard of pyramid shaped tea bags or tea bags made of silk, but what about teas offered in beautiful glass jars? With adorable names like the Happy Stomach, which by the way is great for digestion to more fancy names like the Langlai High Elevation Assam Orthodox tea, there’s no way you would be disappointed if you were a tea connoisseur. You can also pick up a snack like their baked matthis, which are super healthy. They produce wildly popular Chai Masalas and munchies in South Delhi, but more than that they curate a high-quality selection of teas that are sourced directly from estates and their selection is healthy, chemical free and natural.
HG Recommends: Their 12 Secret spice tea is made from a balanced blend of premium quality herbs and spices sourced from around the world. It has a rich aroma followed by a very complex flavour that just gives you that extra pep. It costs Rs. 325 just to warm your heart.
VII. LaPlant Tree
For the people who appreciate great green tea at affordable prices, there’s always LaPlant. Catering to the highly health conscious middle class Indian, LaPlant wanted to blow the competition out of the water by black tea brands trying to add to the green tea game. They’ve now claimed the label of the green tea expert brand space and their brand is constantly innovating with new flavours and blends.
HG Recommends: Their pure green tea beats any of your local grocery stores with 25 packets being sold at the meagre price of Rs. 139.
VIII. No. 3 Clive Road, Delhi
No. 3 Clive Road is for those with wanderlust, with their quirky names for their teas like Jodhpur and Madurai that will transport you to those places with just a sip. The name refers to pre-independence India when founder Radhika Chopra’s grandfather was offered a government house on the eponymous street. The name is a throwback to the traditions of Radhika’s family, and the brand believes firmly in hand-blended teas with herbs and flowers and one taste is just transformative.
HG Recommends: Kashmir Khawa is a unique blend of the greatest teas of India. It’s quite literally the closest you’ll get to paradise on earth. Kashmir’s tea culture was influenced by the tastes of the key trading hubs on the silk route. Traditionally the blend is served in a samovar or a copper kettle heated by charcoal, and is garnished with slivered almonds. It’s a bit steep at Rs. 1350 for 100 grams, but why would you settle for anything but the best?
IX. Pickl’ed, Mumbai
After starting a venture that initially only catered to her friends and family, Pooja of Pickl’ed began gaining a lot of appreciation for her pickled products, but also her tea. Bringing that homemade, fresh taste to all age groups and categories of people, Pickl’ed teas are for the masses. In addition, the family create hand embroidered art work for their brand, and constantly push the boundaries of tea.
HG Recommends: Their Masala tea contains the spicy undertones of masala that we all love, make sure to store in a dry and cool place. As this is super fresh and natural, it does have an expiration of 9 to 12 months from the date of manufacture. It costs only Rs. 150 for a 100 grams.
X. Tea Box, West Bengal
Sometimes we’d all like a nice cup of tea, but the monsoon rains and our own lethargy prevent us from going to the stores to get the best. Tea box has remedied this by delivering fresh Indian teas- directly from the plantations to your doorsteps. With a wide range of teas from Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri & Kangra, these teas represent the best of our homeland. The leaves are sourcd carefully from estates in Darjeeling and Assam to give you that taste you enjoy. This is a brand with its own unique identity that allows you to explore the origin of your morning brew; more than just a regular tea brand.
HG Recommends: Their Goomtee Special Summer Muscatel Black is one of the finest muscatels of the year, and is tipped with a soiree of fresh, floral, and fruity flavors. It’s a little expensive at Rs. 1349 but for the convenience and premium quality, we’re willing to overlook this.
XI. Tea Trunk, Goa
Who grew up remembering their friends and family bringing over bags of tea from their travels abroad? Snighda Manchanda of Tea Trunk does! Tea Trunk, aptly named after Snighda’s father’s vintage tea trunk, is a tribute to the love of tea. With farmers who create unique blends only using high quality ingredients, each tea is specially crafted after days of tasting and re-tasting, and is defined by its beautiful packaging andnatural ingredients. We are talking no additives, no tea dust, but plain spectacular whole-lead tea. While some might argue that there are a lot of “holier than thou” brands out there, one cannot deny that Tea Trunk has managed to make artisanal gourmet tea both accessible and approachable. We’re settling down with this for monsoon.
HG Recommends: Their Assam Spiced Black Tea will soothe your soul @ Rs. 500.
XII. Anandini Himalaya Tea, Delhi
You know you can rely on this brand when a tea titan (or should we say tea sommelier) Anamika Singh, heir to the Manjhee Valley tea estate in Himachal Pradesh, runs this place. With heart-warming tea that makes you feel classier than royalty. Making tea is equal parts ability to produce the finest as well as knowledge of what goes in to make it the finest. Anamika Singh knows tea since she was a little girl, ditching college to assist her father with his tea estate. One sip of this tea will will send you through 49 years of history, with unique blends that delicately dance on your tongue.
HG Recommends: Using elements such as rose, sweet lime and ginger to create blends such as Emerald Spiced and Sunset Boulevard, these blends create a flavour like no other. The Emerald Spiced is between Rs.350 to Rs.450 and the Sunset Boulevard is for Rs. 450.
XIII. Sancha Tea, Delhi
Sancha Tea made history in 1981 when they opened the first tea tasting boutique in Delhi, so that people could taste the tea that suited them and their palate the most. Mr. Sanjay Kapur of Sancha spent years researching how soil, climate, terrain and rainfall affected his tea to the extent that his plantations have marked out areas that show the variety of flavours from grassy to woody to floral and flowery and finally, muscatel. Their boutique have tea sommeliers who will assist you and guide you with your tea choices as well as teach you how to brew the perfect cup.
Feature Image Courtesy of Bearded Design
Words: Divija Mohan
Research: Meharunnisa Sahib