Kolkata Special: These 8 Fine Teas Make For Great Gifts

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Have family coming in on a holiday visit? Or looking for a gift idea for the festive season? A box of tea or a hamper of assorted flavours can make for a great gift.

Dolly's Tea Shop

Dolly’s is an independent tea café in Dakhinapan complex run by Dolly Roy. It’s a favourite hangout place for young and old with cane chairs, cosy paper lampshades and boxes and canisters of tea. They have a huge variety of cold and hot teas on the menu and a range of snacks including shrimp cutlets and ham sandwiches. It is also a tea boutique where you can pick up fragrant Darjeeling leaves. Dolly is a former tea taster and has handpicked the stock here – from silver tips, green tea and first flush to white tea and hand-rolled varieties. The best part is the packaging – you can choose from velvet and zari pouches or pick up a pre-packed one.

Lopchu Tea From New Market

This is a brand that UK’s Harrods store has tried to stock and failed. A single estate tea, it’s one of the most sought-after by tea connoisseurs for its delicate floral fragrance. They have loyal buyers in India (and abroad) who are willing to pay for it to be posted to them. We love its aroma and muscatel taste. You can pick up their Golden Orange Pekoe or the Flowery Orange Pekoe from shops in New Market, Lake Market or even sometimes at supermarkets like Spencer’s.

DIY A Special Blend

Tea and a daily ritual of tea time in late afternoons is huge in Kolkata. Tea drinkers can be fanatical about where they buy their cha leaves from – what kind they buy and which brand is also important. Most times, people in the know will blend their tea instead of buying pre-packaged stuff (which they look down their noses at). And they buy the blends from tea merchants who have stores all over the city. Almost every big neighborhood bazaar in Kolkata (like Lake Market, Gariahat, Jadavpur) has a tea store where the person at the counter will help you perfect your blend whether it is loose leaves you want or CTC or mixed. There are a few big stores that are known around the city that you can also visit – these have a really wide variety of teas from the east. For instance, Lakshmi Narayan Tea House at 58, Ekdalia Road in Ballygunge; Dhruba Tea Centre opposite Lalbazar police station, which has stores all over Kolkata.

Organic Teas From Makaibari

This is a single estate tea brand that gets exported to European markets. A special 5kg pack of handcrafted Darjeeling tea from the iconic Makaibari tea estate in Kurseong has fetched the best ever price for any first flush tea at $302 a kilo at a private sale. This 155-year-old iconic garden makes organic tea through bio-dynamic principles. You will find Makaibari tea sold at several tea stores in Lake Market, Spencer’s, tea retailers and at Tasty in Dakhinapan.

Tea Hampers From Whistling Kettle

Running out of gifting ideas for Diwali? It’s high time to move away from the tried and tested and be a little groundbreaking. The tea hampers from Whistling Kettle are sure to bring a smile to your family and friends. Whistling Kettle stocks the famous Darjeeling Nathmulls tea – you can choose Green Tea Treasures, First Flush Tea Treasures and classic Assorted Treasures. You can also choose from a wide variety of unique tea pots and cups at Whistling Kettle – like the ceramic collection, Chinese pottery, white metal silver-plated sets & standout stuff like dragon strainers.

Himalayan Rhododendron And Nettle Teas

If you haven’t yet tried the SOS range of teas from the Himalayas, then you haven’t lived! They have Himalayan rhododendron, nettle, tulsi, Himalaya spice etc. If you are confused about what to pick, you can start with a pack that has it all and then decide which one suits you best. You can get these at several shops across the city, including the Rainbow store on Sarat Bose Road.

Karma Kettle

Karma Kettle is a tearoom in the bylanes of Ballygunge known for their blends of tea – be it single estate or blended, hot or cold. They have a range of specialty teas such as moringa, ashwagandha, matcha mandarin, vanilla matcha, teas with  blue lemongrass and butterfly pea flowers, and more.

Manjushree Tea Place

Also present at Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, The Tea Place By Manjushree has opened an outlet at Hindustan Park. From exotic Chinese teas to Kashmiri kahwas, oolong teas, Darjeeling tea, white and green tea, they have a huge collection of teas to choose from.