It’s not just the soulmate of the samosa. A good, proper chai can conquer gloomy days and mighty kingdoms. There is no consensus on what makes for perfect chai, but we find that these Delhi-NCR establishments dedicate themselves to the art and craft of a perfect hot brew.

Chaayos

Photo source: Chaayos

Photo source: Chaayos

What we like is that someone asked us exactly how we’d like our cup. With Meri Wali Chai, choose the core ingredient or mix and match – their menu allows for over 12,000 combinations of tea! You can even make it kadak or paani kum if you like to err on the side of caution. They offer a ‘Hangover Brunch’ option, which is chai and its faithful rusk, a sandwich and a side, for only INR 189. Their more innovative offerings include Aam Panna Chai, Hari Mirchi Ki Chai and God’s Own Tea.

Where: Across Delhi & Gurgaon, see here

Contact: +91 9650063631

Price: Single cup starts at INR 42

Follow them on Facebook here.

World Tea Room

Whether you like your chai basic or a tad more hip, World Tea Room makes sure you get the perfect cup. Even our very own masala chai comes in different variants – green, spiced, flowering, Oolong, Roobois {from South Africa’s Red Bush plant}, herbal, decaf – you couldn’t ask for more. We were blown away by the black tea blend with vanilla & elderberry that gave our cup of tea a really delicately balanced flavour.

Where: Place your orders here

Contact: 011 41609835/36

Price: 50gm packs start at INR 140

Follow them on Facebook here.

Tea Trunk

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Photo source: Tea Trunk

A tea ninja went training in Sri Lanka to learn about the perfect leaf from a Japanese tea master. All this worldly wisdom can be found in the handpicked whole leaf teas in the cute little tin trunks from this superb online shop. We love the fact that the infusions are made with all-natural ingredients and that there’s no trace of lingering dust or doubt about the tea’s goodness.

Where: Place your orders here

Contact: +91 8381023382

Price: 100gm tins start at INR 350

Follow them on Facebook here.

Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge

We didn’t associate the Wagh Bakri ads on TV with fancy tea lounges, but we’re learning everyday. With a menu comprising hot tea in traditional flavours like lemon, cardamom and ginger, what really stands out is the curious section on the menu offering tea served with a scoop of ice-cream. Or stick with safer snacks, including cocktail samosas, khandvi and sandwiches.

Where: Across Delhi, find the one closest to you here.

Price: Single cup starts at INR 50

Find out more here and follow them on Facebook here.

Anandini Himalaya Tea Boutique and Tea Room

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Photo source: Anandini Himalaya Tea

This cosy and bright tea room always makes us want to stop for a brew and friendly chat with Anamika, who brings innovative blends from her family-run tea estate in Dharamsala {called Manjhee Valley}to Delhi. Stop by for a cup or take some to go. The first flush, blended with lavender and lemongrass, makes for a really pleasant infusion that reminds us of the first rain of the season.

Where: 10A, DDA Flats, Shahpur Jat

Contact: +91 9811183344

Price: 75gm packs start at INR 250 for basic teas and INR 400 for hand-made infusions

Follow them on Facebook here.

Mittal Teas 

Originally started in 1954, this tea shop was one of the first to sell leaf tea in India, and has grown in repute and fondness over the years. Run by a family of tea tasters and lecturers, this store houses teas from all over the world, including China, Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Nepal. Walk away from here with a selection of teas, and tea ware, including strainers and timers, to make sure your equipment is worthy of your cup, and of course, a potful of knowledge.

Where: Place your orders here

Where: 27, Barakhamba Road

Contact: 011 41507054

Price: 100gm packs start at INR 200

Au Bon Pain

All that freshly baked bread must need something to wash it down. Au Bon Pain covers a variety of tea, including masala chai, Green Sencha, Ginseng Oolong and even a liquid tiramisu offering. All  teas are freshly brewed and brought to you in cute little glass teapots, accompanied by a strainer and milk. Pair your chai with a croissant or a danish pastry and it’s bon soir to you, too!

Where: In Delhi and Gurgaon, find one closest to you here

Nearest Metro Station: Depends on location

Contact: 011 41091994

Price: Single cup of tea starts at INR 29

Follow them on Facebook here.

T’Pot Cafe

Photo source: TPot Cafe

Photo source: TPot Cafe

This cafe, that first came to Malviya Nagar and is now open in Connaught Place as well, is the perfect place to take a little break from driving. They serve a variety of teas including Oolong, fruit tea and even chocolate tea, but their specialty remains the masala chai, served in lovely little kullars.

Where: Plot No. 7, Opp Kotak Mahindra Bank, Shivalik Road, Malviya Nagar; 21, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Connaught Place

Nearest Metro: Malviya Nagar; Rajiv Chowk

Contact: 011 41420516 {Malviya Nagar}, +91 8882447722 {Connaught Place}

Price: INR 700 for two {approx.}

Follow them on Facebook here.

Just For Chai

The humble little neighbourhood chai shop is warmly welcoming, with its bright display of umbrellas outside and charming curios on the inside. You could pore over the multiple pages of tea listings on the menu, but if we were you, we’d skip to the Irani chai or Kashmiri kahwa served in kullars. For the braver souls, there is also Neend Na Aawat Chai and Neend Udd Jaawat Chai.

Where: Golf Course Road, Opposite Vipul Belmonte, Gurgaon

Nearest Metro: Sikandarpur

Contact: +91 9818432215

Price: Single cup of tea starts at INR 39

Follow them on Facebook here

Cha Bar 

If you’ve ever suffered a moment where you had the perfect cup of tea but nothing to read, you’ll be grateful for Cha Bar, set in the midst of Oxford Bookstore. The teapot wall is a beautiful display of tea traditions from around the world, and works as a perfect canvas to gaze at curiously while others around you are pretty sure you’re deep in thought. Hmm, clever.

Where: Oxford Bookstore, N-81, Connaught Place

Contact: +91 9818432215

Price: Single cup of tea starts at INR 80

Find out more here and follow them on Facebook here.

San Cha Tea Boutique

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Photo courtesy: San Cha Tea

If you’re buying your tea from San Cha, you’re probably drinking the same cup of chai that the top cats around the world do. That’s because the PMO trusts San Cha to curate and blend the best tasting teas sold at auctions in East India; in fact, one of their blends is called President’s Tea. The family behind San Cha is discerning enough to segregate Darjeeling teas into three distinct categories, basis the season they were picked in.

Visit them for a rather elegant tea-sipping experience. Read more about them here.

Where: Daryaganj; Shop No. 30 Santushti Arcade; Cross Point Mall, Gurgaon. You can place your orders here

Contact: 011 23260373, 011 23287775

Price: 100gm packs start at INR 150, and goes up to INR 1,600. Tea tastings and tea sessions are free; no purchase necessary

The Tea Place by Manjushree

We like a lady with a mission. Manjushree’s seems to be serving just the right cup of tea. Starting with the Ginger Honey Black Tea, traipsing through the Nepalese Orthodox Ilam Tea {which comes from rainier terrain and soil}, and going right up to the provincial specialties of Chinese mountain teas, it’s a whole new world. The choice of cookies, scones and cakes only enhances our tea journey.

Where: Ground floor, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket

Contact:+91 9910472118

Price: Single cup of tea starts at INR 165

Regalia Tea House aka Asia Tea House

This one’s just a heads up – if you go looking for the famous Regalia Tea House, you’re likely to turn up against its new avatar, which goes by Asia Tea House. Luckily though, they still do what they do best – curate the best teas that have been serving Sunder Nagar and beyond for ages.

Where: 12, Sunder Nagar Market, Delhi

Contact: 011 24350115, +91 9891187198

Price: Varies according to the selection

Follow them on Facebook here.

Featured photo source: Tea Trunk