November 29, 2021

‘Tis time for tea

Morning cuppa

We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week…
The bottom is out of the Universe.
~Rudyard Kipling

I came across this piece this morning on tea cultures of the world – via Travels in the Riel World. A lovely post on six different cultures based on their tea habits.

Tea in Ephesus

Tea in Istanbul
I would add to this list, cay from Turkey, especially apple tea – the perfect any-time drink. I became an honorary Turk in the course of my short visit to that country last year, drinking several cups through the day with the best of them…

Which brings me to the question – is India a tea culture? I read somewhere that India produces and consumes more tea than any other country in the world. We drink cup after cup of chai everyday, most of it with milk and sugar and some with added condiments like adrak (ginger) and elaichi (cardamom). Tea, or chai is the drink of the people in India, adda (gossip sessions) in India is always over tea. Tea has a much longer history in India than coffee – some even believe that the Sanjeevani plant that Hanuman flew across the ocean to carry back was a variety of tea plant!

Made in Chaina

Yet, there are so few good tea shops, leaving aside the street vendors (who some may argue, and I agree, make the best tea). It is the coffee shops that are popular – from the soulless Baristas and Costa Coffees to the more homey brews of filter kapi at South Indian joints across the country…

I am not a chai lover myself, the way say, Annie is.

For, chai needs to be loved just for itself.
Not because it is fragrant, flavoured, exotic, from new trees or old.
Not because it can bring you relief, respite, anti-oxidants.
Not because it is strong, or mild, or just right, or vaccum-sealed.
Just because it is chai and chai is good (unless it has been treated badly).

I am mostly a filter kapi person but I do love that cuppa with ginger, especially when it is raining outside and I am inside, cozy and warm, watching it through the windows. And I have been keeping my eyes and ears open for good tea places.

I first came across TeaPot on Anita’s blog and I knew I had to go there while in Fort Kochi…

teapot

In a quiet side-street of Fort Kochi, TeaPot is the perfect place to sit quietly for hours with a book or just staring out into space…

peace and serenitea

The main room is filled with tea knick-knacks – hundreds of teapots, tea strainers, sketches on the walls… Old tea chests serve as tables, their open surface bearing the stencil mark Produce of India

tea chest

tea kettles

As soon as you enter, you are greeted by this large table, the base made from a tea bush…

tea bush

At TeaPot, even the clocks tell T time…

tis tea time

The TeaPot is on PeterCelli Street and serves snacks and coffee, apart from a variety of teas. Drop by if you are ever in that part of the world. And if you are not that much of a tea-lover, still go there to look at the shiny kettles and pots and sample their appams as you sip on coffee.

9 thoughts on “‘Tis time for tea

  1. Nice article … nothing beats the chai by the roadside – “.”
    I have to admit this Teapot place is quite reminiscent of the “Path of Tea” in Houston – very promising place with hundreds of flavors of tea – awesome decor, awesome tea pots, ambience etc. etc. … Alas all the flavors tasted like hot water. No seriously – maybe its just that Indians/”only me” are/am used to strong tastes – adrak, cinnamon, pepper, masala and such – so much that the westernized hints and ‘subtle’ hints go whooooosh over my head … couldn’t taste anything despite my sincerest efforts … and good money spent too! Went home – made “chai” (not Tea) , one sip and aha!

  2. I am with you on the arguement that the roadside tea shops make the best tea. Nothing like a quick cup on the go from a roadside vendor to shoo the tiredness away, while you are travelling! That is such a boon in India!

    I have heard a lot about TeaPot Cafe. Sadly, I didn’t know about it when I visited Fort Kochi. I will ensure that we do visit the place when we are in Kerala the next time. It sounds like such a quaint, lovely place!

  3. 🙂 Our fascination with tea started when we chanced upon Tea Pot in Fort Kochi. And now, we scout for charming tea cafes anywhere we go! Our latest discovery was a little cafe in Palo Alto called Tea Time, a place conceptually similar to Tea Pot but located a thousands of miles away. Thanks for writing and sharing this lovely post!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I love hunting for quirky teashops too wherever I go. I found one in a small town in Ireland recently and spent an hour there, just reading a book and sipping on some tisane.

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