A sommelier’s guide to unusual tea pairing

  • Aishwarya Vijaykumar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2016 17:39 IST
Did you know: for centuries, tea was used only as a medicine. It took almost 3000 years for it to become an everyday drink (Photo: shutterstock)

Making a cup of tea is a work of art. If you get it right, it can uplift your mood even on the worst of rainy days. Tea sommelier Anamika Singh knows it best. Singh has been in the tea industry for over 20 years and is the second generation of tea planters in her family. She recently curated a high-tea menu for chef Atul Kochhar’s restaurant, NRI (Not Really Indian) at Bandra Kurla Complex. It boasts of 11 flavoured teas that will be available for three months. Read on for her guide to tea.

Five unusual tea and food pairing
• Green tea infused with rose petals and mint with chicken 65: The spicy chicken is cooled by the cool mint and sweet rose petals. After a bite of fried food, sipping green tea cleanses the tongue of the oiliness.

• Second flush Darjeeling with seekh kebab: The sharpness of the spices used along with the ginger and garlic can only be matched with this tea, which is full-bodied (rich and strong) and enhances the flavours of the spices used.

• Genmaicha with akuri on toast: Genmaicha adds to the taste of the toast and brings forth the sharpness of the onion and green chilli.

Read more: High Tea: India is rediscovering its love affair with chai

• Handmade flowery green tea with pumpkin flower fritters: The delicate taste of the pumpkin flower is complemented by the flowery green tea. It enhances the taste of the gram flour and cleanses the palate.

• Oolong with matar ki kachori: Oolong is a semi-fermented tea that has a hint of fruitiness. The woody undertone works well with the taste of the peas sauteed with cumin and ginger.

Oolong is a semi-fermented tea with a hint of fruitiness (Photo: Getty Images)

Five tea myths busted

• Only green tea has antioxidants: All tea has antioxidants. It is just that the quantity may vary depending on the method of manufacturing.

• White tea does not have caffeine: All tea has caffeine; they all come from the same plant — camellia sinensis.

• Tea is bitter: Tea is not supposed to taste bitter. If it does, it might be because the temperature of the water isn’t right, or the ratio of the tea added to water may be incorrect. A timer will help.

• Herbal tea is a form of tea: If the infusion or concoction does not have camellia sinensis in it, it cannot be termed as tea or herbal tea. It is then termed as a tisane.

• Tea should be refrigerated for longer shelf life: Tea should be stored in a dark cupboard, away from moisture or direct sunlight. Any contact with moisture will help in the growth of moulds and fungus.

Darjeeling tea is a full-bodied tea and has a strong aroma (Photo: Getty Images)

Tea trivia

• Green tea and black tea are made from the same plant.

• If you do not prune a tea bush, it will grow to the height of a three-storied building.

• For centuries, tea was used only as a medicine. It took almost 3000 years for it to become an everyday drink.

• There is a special name for when tea leaves uncurl as hot water is poured over them. It is called “the agony of leaves”.


Sample the hi-tea menu till the end of August from 3pm to 6pm, every day.

Address: Not Really Indian (NRI), Maker Maxity, North Avenue 2, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E)

Call: 3000 5040

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