“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you and if you are excited, it will calm you”.
– British politician William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898)
Whether it’s spine-chilling winters, pouring monsoons or humid summers, tea lovers can’t live without their hot cuppa. Gone are the days when most tea drinkers preferred to have tea either at home or at a local tea shop. Just like elite coffee houses, tea cafes too are increasing in numbers, all thanks to people who are obsessed with tea. So here’s a list of the 8 best cafes around the world where you can sip your favourite afternoon tea!
1. Tea Centre, Mumbai
Known for its quiet ambience and colonial charm, the Tea Centre, established in 1953, is one of the oldest cafes in Mumbai. It has on its menu, tea varieties spanning from traditional Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiris to exotic ones like Buttered Apple, Kashmiri Kahwas, iced teas, Blood Orange and Banana Caramel Tea.
Must-try: Hot Buttered Apple Tea
2. Tea & Sympathy, New York
One of the great places for afternoon tea in New York, are the quintessential British themed rooms of Tea & Sympathy. You can select either Tea & Sympathy’s blends or one of the thirty branded teas on offer. Enjoy your tea with cakes, finger sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream.
Location: Greenwich Village
Must-try: Loose Teas
3. Tea and Tattle, London
A pocket-friendly cafe, Tea and Tattle is located below the 100 years old Arthur Probsthain bookshop. Known for its loose leaf tea blends, served in bone china cups, it offers a classic combination of afternoon tea and scones with clotted cream and jam. You can choose from a variety of fresh leaf tea ranging from Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling and Jasmine to Oolong, Peppermint and Lapsang.
Location: 41 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3PE (opposite the British Museum)
Must-try: Earl Grey Tea and Darjeeling Tea
4. Cha Bar, Kolkata
Beautifully located on the first floor of the Oxford bookstore, Cha Bar offers an amazing one-of-its-kind experience where book lovers can enjoy tea while reading their favourite books. It serves an array of teas from the traditional masala chai to experimental fusion teas to sweet dessert teas.
Location: 17, Oxford Book Store, Park Street
Must-try: Ayurvedic teas & bollywood ‘masala mix’ cha
5. Infinitea, Bangalore
Started in 2003 by Gaurav Saria, the owner of four tea estates in West Bengal, Infinitea is extremely popular among tea fanatics. It boasts of having over 150 tea varieties from all around the world, from exquisite ones like Pearls of the Mountain and Peony Rosette to Oolong teas like Spring Specialty First Flush and Red Thunder.
Location: Cunningham Road
Must-try: Japanese Green Tea
6. The Chaai, Pune
Here, you can choose from white, black, green, oolong, herbal and rooibos teas along with other beverages like cold drinks and coffee. The Organic Houjicha , a Japanese green tea and the White Monkey Tea are highly recommended for those who like their tea light and without milk.
Location: Deccan Gymkhana
Must-try: Spicy Chai with strong flavours
7. Aoyama Flower Market Tea House, Tokyo
As the name suggests, the Aoyama Flower Market Tea House combines a florist with a tea house. Lavishly decorated with fresh flowers of the season, it’s a dream cafe for every tea lover. Located at a 5-minute walking distance from Omotesando Station (metro subway station), it offers a wide selection of tea ranging from herbal and dry herbal to special seasonal teas.
Must-try: Seasonal Teas
8. T’Pot Cafe, Delhi
It serves around 50 different varieties of tea ranging from desi chai, Hibiscus tea, fruit tea and Darjeeling organic tea to white tea.
Location: Malviya Nagar
Must-try: Masala tea served in a kulhad
Toh ek cup chai ho jaye?
It is that time of the year when the winds whisk by your skin making your hair sway in the air, when the smell of wet soil is all you need to cheer up, when a cup of coffee sitting by the window side while it rains is bliss, when the thunder and the pitter patter of raindrops gives you a high like never before and in that moment, you decide it’s time to travel. To get into your denims and sneakers with your backpack and head to the land unknown.
Far away from the busy city life lies a beautiful habitat embellished with mind blowing landscapes, Dimapur is the gateway to the unexplored state of Nagaland. Rated as one of the most developed cities of the state, Dimapur will take you to a blissful journey through Kachari Ruins from the 13th century, Rangapahar Reserve Forest, Green Park, Intaki Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mandu, Madhya Pradesh
Mandavgad or Mandu is a small ruined city located in the Marwar region of Hindustaan ka dil – Madhya Pradesh. An absolute charm for history lovers and photography buffs, this place boasts of numerous palaces such as Hindola Mahal and Jahaz Mahal alongwith Jain temples and mosques. This is the place to be this August.
How great would it be to enjoy French delicacies as the Rain Gods get a little kind on you. Take a stroll In the postcard perfect city with its colonial homes back from the days of French, stone streets, flea markets and a lane full of cafes and bars. Watch the waters go wild while it rains, it’s heavenly! Make the trip wilder by taking a road trip from Chennai to Pondicherry.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This little Tibet in uphills is yet to be explored by the tourist junta which makes it all the more irresistible. Coming here during this time makes it an adventure itself and boy, when you witness the beauty of this place, you are sure to be left tongue tied. That’s the aura of the place! And that is why it should not be missed.
Pushkar – the place with the blue hills offers an enlightening holiday during the monsoons. The monsoon is a relaxing time for the otherwise scorching hot Rajasthan and it is this time when you should be enjoying an early morning camel ride, a walk through the local market learning, indulge in camping and shopping handicrafts or simply watch the beauty of nature. This experience is going to be with for a lifetime!
‘Phew, it’s hot! When will monsoon come?’… No one bothers to remember the number of times this phrase has been uttered when the scorching sun shines at its best. But a slight drizzle or a heavy downpour is most welcoming when the thirsty lips yearn for few drops of life. Driblets of rain trickling down the skin, the amazing smell of wet land, a sudden freshness in the air, heightened greenery to savour, school children with raincoats and speeding cars splashing mud-water, thank God, Monsoon has arrived.
As one takes a roller-coaster ride through the coastline state of Tamil Nadu, one cannot but help getting into a cultural tryst with the state. Monsoon makes for the icing on the cake that renders the place peerless. To enjoy the beauty of nature clad with imaginative-hues, plan for a rejuvenating experience to 5 of the best getaways in Tamil Nadu in which is concealed an inimitable monsoon adventure.
Though docile as compared to its more popular counterpart, Ooty, the hill station of Coonoor offers amazing picturesque views of the slopes beneath. On the far side of the red-tile rooftops, one gets to savour the tranquil aura, cool climate and beautiful landscapes beyond earthly restrictions. Get a little adventurous while trekking to Lamb’s Rock or Lady Canning’s Seat, up-to Dolphin’s Nose and Law’s Falls.
If you wish to inhale the strong aroma of coffee beans alongside relishing fresh fruits and mocktails, then a tour of one of the most mesmerising hill stations along the Eastern Ghats is a must. As one treks through gentle slopes, dense forests and stiff climbs, the sight of fruit gardens, coffee plantations, caves, heritage buildings, silk farm and rose garden gives the wandering eyes, a pinch of inexplicable satisfaction.
A few days in solitude and peace coupled with a slowly-mounting thrill in the air is experienced in the beautiful hill station and wildlife sanctuary of Masinagudi. Tourists come pouring into this gem of a place to savage the charm of nature while putting-up at the best hotels in Masinagudi alongside appreciating the vast biodiversity that resides in its bosom. Animal-lovers should not miss this amazing destination for it houses an extraordinary collection of mammals, fishes, birds, amphibians, reptiles and wildlife delights.
The mesmerising hill station of Kodaikanal has been serving as a haven and tourist destination from antiquity. An artist’s imagination splashed on a canvas with vibrant hues and shades breathes life in this amazing destination. With a beautiful lake at its heart and patches of Shola Forests, magnolia, mahogany and rhododendron trees dotted around, Kodaikanal blossoms with an evergreen florescence in the hearts of its admirers.
Kanyakumari needs no introduction. Tucked in the southernmost tip of the country, this small town is huge in charm and grandeur. From sunrise to sunset, nature appeases its onlookers with something divine. The Vivekanada Rock Memorial, Our Lady of Ransom Church and Bhagavathy Amman Temple draw an ocean of tourists and pilgrims to its premises.
Sight of raindrops drizzling from the sky, smell of wet soil, cool splash, floating paper boats on water logged streets and sipping steaming coffee on a rainy day left a permanent scar in our list of childhood memories. While some loves to enjoy the showers through windows, others find joy in heading for a long drive to some known and unknown destinations.
Away from loud cities, sight and sound of showers become more audible, breathtaking and pleasurable. Nature dazzles with greenery to create a heavenly milieu for either a romantic escape or a lone leisure outing. Rain adorns every part of India with the most scenic vistas of nature. In this series of our monsoon getaways, we bring forth such top 5 destinations:
Frequent heavy downpours are a common feature of this small coastal town during monsoon. It is this continuous rainfall that turns Alibaug lush green and blanket the entire region with a misty outlook. A drive via Mumbai- Pune Expressway is the best means to reach Alibaug in Konkon region and enjoy a rejuvenating monsoon vacation amid clean beaches, beautifully tucked cottages and freshly cooked sea food delicacies.
Distance: Around 93km from Mumbai
Monsoon in Maharashtra is incomplete without a long drive to Lonavala and its most spectacular Bhusi Dam. During monsoon Shayadri Mountain ranges and Western Ghats come alive with alluring greenery, tiny waterfalls and breathtaking foggy shade of green, yellow, blue, brown and silver. The otherwise quaint hill town of Lonavla gives the best opportunity to enjoy all these. An overnight stay here is the best choice one can ever make as hotels in Lonavala are aptly located and beautifully designed to let you enjoy the most gorgeous vistas of wet Sahyadri Ranges.
Distance: Approximately 82km from Mumbai
Though lost in the veritable shadow of its popular counterpart, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani remained a preferred name for those in search of a sleepy relaxing holiday in a less crowded locale. Its idyllic landscape speckled with colonial cottages, shiny rivulets, quaint hamlets and rolling hills get drenched in rain during monsoon and make the place utterly magical. A walk through its many unknown small winding paths covered by rain-kissed tall and short bushes gives you a prefect chance to get lost in nature’s beauty.
Distance: Approximately 230km km from Mumbai
To plan a short trip to Malshej Ghat near Kalyan does not need heavy cash and long leaves. Vast stretches of green rugged hills, dripping water resulting in small and big waterfalls, floating clouds and chill wind of Malshej Ghat during monsoon blanket with seclusion and rejuvenation. Plan an overnight stay here, as after a quick visit to Ajoba Hill Fort and Harishchandra Fort, the cozy rooms of hotels in Malshej Ghat end you short sweet trip on a memorable note.
Distance: Approximately 154km from Mumbai.
While talking about hidden wonders, this is one name that reverberates again and again. Tucked near Igatpuri, Bhandardara has everything required for a monsoon trip in the lap of nature. Gushing waterfalls, tall misty mountains and unending stretch of greenery delight you in every second of your stay here. The beauty of Wilson Dam, Arthur Lake and Umbrella Falls reaches the zenith as rain pours and spreads a magical veil over the region.
Distance: Approximately 185km from Mumbai
North East India is the unexplored paradise on the Indian Mainland. The unique culture, tradition, pleasant climate, green landscapes and surreal natural beauty about the place make it stand out from the rest. Monsoon season brings joy to everyone but tourists in particular, when rains cool down the heating surface of the earth and wash the flora all around to colour it soothing green. North East India, one of the most unadulterated regions in India, is too beautiful a sight to believe and assimilate in during the monsoon season.
Let us look at some of the most spectacular monsoon getaways in North East India:
Pelling is a popular hill station in Sikkim state of India. The place offers an unparalleled view of the mighty Kanchenjunga which is bound to sweep any observer off his/her feet. The stillness and calmness of the valley around the hill station makes you want to connect with the nature and forget the hustle and bustle of the city life. Although temperatures remain pleasant throughout the year, yet monsoon is much cooler and exciting than other seasons. All kinds of hotels ranging from budget hotels to luxury hotels in Pelling are available to meet the expectations of different visitors.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang town in Arunachal Pradesh is a picturesque affair of green on the land and white in the sky. This place is one of the most scenic tourist destinations in North East India. The green slopes, beautiful monasteries and gigantic mountains in the backdrop make one question if the place is for real or an impeccable imagination. A visit to the high altitude Sella Pass will surely go down one of the most amazing sights in the observer’s memory, the mountain pass connects Tawang to Tezpur and Guwahati.
Majuli is a ridiculously beautiful island amidst the mighty Brahmaputra River in Assam. The river supplies a number of water bodies to the island which make the flowers and vegetation bloom here. If you are one of those tourists who jump at the opportunity of visiting lesser explored naturally beautiful areas, Majuli is the one for in North East India. The current of the river around the island results in breezing winds which sway rice fields and trees in the most picturesque fashion. Majuli is about 200 kilometres to the east of Guwahati and you will have to get into a ferry from Jorhat to reach this island.
Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
Although it is just a lake and not a town or city, it is not “just a lake”. The Tsomgo lake is based at an unbelievable altitude of 3780 metres – to put things in perspective, most of the treks for general tourists terminate much shorter than that altitude. How often will you get to see a mesmerising lake at that astounding height? Well, not often. The sight from up above here is breathtaking too with numerous lofty mountains and huge forest cover all around.
The beautiful state of Kerala in south India is not called as “God’s Own Country” for no palpable reason. Kerala is a state with dense forest cover along the Western Ghats, which house some of the rarest flora and fauna found across the Indian mainland. As a result, Kerala remains full of natural green throughout the year but it is only during monsoon season when the lush greenery of the place comes in to full effect and adds to the immense beauty usually observed here. The serene backwaters of Kerala gain strength as the monsoon arrives, thus make houseboats in Kerala much more fun.
Kerala is the first state in India to welcome the south-west summer monsoon. Let us take a look at some of the best tourist destinations to visit in Kerala during monsoon:
“Houseboats in Kerala” – if that phrase appeals to a tourist then Ashtamudi is the place where he/she needs to be. Ashtamudi, as the name suggests, is an 8 cornered lake in Kerala known for its enchanting backwaters. The 16 kilometres long lake is the second largest in the state; it merges into the sea through Neendakara estuary. Kollam Junction Railway Station is hardly 2 kilometres away from here.
Best Hotels near Ashtamudi: Hotel All Season, The Quilon Beach Hotel and All Season Houseboat.
Kovalam is one of the most famous beaches in India and not just in Kerala. The beach is visited by plethora of tourists throughout the year, but the rainy season induces a sense of excitement about the place. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming and herbal massages for a wholesome experience while you are here. Trivandrum International Airport is about 10 kilometres from here.
Best hotels in Kovalam: Poovar Island Resort, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel and Spa.
The beauty of Munnar reverberates as it attracts tourists from all around the word. Easily one of the most famous hill stations in India, Munnar is a sight to cherish during the monsoon season as the place turns surreal. A walk through the mist covered tea estates on a rainy morning here is bound to stay with you forever. Anamudi, the highest peak in Munnar, offers a great place for trekking.
Best hotels in Munnar: Elysium Garden, Bell Vedera Resorts Munnar and Ragamaya Resort and Spa Munnar.
When you visit Wayanad, you visit one of the most scenic places in Kerala. This place offers some amazingly captivating views of hills and valleys around it. What’s more, how does camping in a tree house with rain outside sound for a getaway? You get to do it all here in the calm, serene and beautiful Wayanad.
Best Hotels in Wayanad:Wayanad Sharoy Resort, Lakkidi Village Resort and The Woods Resorts Wayanad.