Matcha bowls to an exclusive tea humidor, two connoisseurs give their pick of accessories to make brew time special
It is the world’s most widely-consumed beverage. It is also one that has inspired some indulgent experiences. Like the new Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury SUV, unveiled at Auto China 2018, which comes with a bespoke bone china tea set for two! While the car maybe a tad too much for the likes of you and me, options like hand-hammered Japanese brass spoons (₹4,200 on bellocq.com) or cast iron teapots from Harrods (₹22,660 on harrods.com) are covetable. So as the rains pick up and dark evenings call for piping hot cuppas, we ask two tea connoisseurs to share their pick of luxury accessories to have.
Snigdha Manchanda, Tea Trunk
The young tea sommelier has tried many teas from around the world, but recently, the Singpho tribe in Maio, on the Assam-Arunachal border, managed to surprise her. “I discovered the Singpho (credited with discovering tea in India) prepare the leaves by stuffing it into the hollow of a bamboo and steaming it. It was really special,” says Manchanda, who brought some with her, sliced into roundels. Back home in Goa, she is currently exploring teas from Japan. “We’ve introduced matcha blends like mint and cacao (with strawberry and pumpkin spice in the pipeline), and will be bringing down others like sencha and genmaicha,” she says. But first you can expect the vitamin C-rich Blue Pea Flower Tea later this month. Details: teatrunk.in
“I’ve been enamoured with matcha recently. And the chawan — that you whisk the tea in — is an essential. The ceramic bowl is based on the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi (celebrating imperfections), so it is never perfect. You must also not wash it with soap; the idea is for the tea to create a patina on the bottom. The Ginza Takumi store in Tokyo’s Ginza district stocks some of the best ceramic ware from across Japan, and I plan to pick up a chawan there.”
From approximately ₹6,000 onwards, on ginza-takumi.co.jp. You can also pick up matcha bowls by Goa-based potter Thomas Louis, of Banana Pottery, at ₹880 on teatrunk.in.
“This one is on my wish list. Though we associate vodka with Russia, their national drink is tea. The beverage plays an important role in their daily lives, and they keep it warm in the samovar all day long. The samovars are actually inspired by the Tibetan teapot (made with bamboo), and some of the best pieces have metal bodies with really intricate enamel work.”
From approximately ₹20,000 onwards, on fromrussia.com.
Noritake tea set
“This Japanese brand is legendary when it comes to tea time. In the 18th century, pretty much all ceramic ware in Europe came from Asia. It’s so Downton Abbey; it has an aura of regal grace about it. I want to specifically buy their classic white tea set with gold detailing.”
The 17-piece Hampshire Gold with 22 carat trim is approximately ₹28,500, on noritakeindia.com.
Kausshal Dugarr, Teabox
If steamed tea surprised Manchanda, Dugarr was floored by a fermented version in China. “The first time I tasted pu’er tea in the Yunnan province, I couldn’t understand what I was drinking. It tasted like wine gone wrong!” says the founder of Teabox. “But the next time, I could taste its complexities — the mildly astringent flavour, the smokiness and hints of plum.” Offering a variety of single-origin teas from India and Nepal, he says their newest bestseller is jasmine tea. “Most often, what you get in India has artificial flavouring. But we mix our green tea with jasmine flowers and let them infuse for 24 to 48 hours,” says Dugarr, who also has plans to bottle water from the springs of Sikkim to offer tea drinkers the best sip. Details: in.teabox.com
Kitchenaid Electric Kettle
“Tea aficionados are very particular about the temperature of the water and the brewing time — so they can extract all the natural flavours. The electric kettle from Kitchenaid’s Pro Line Series is a great investment because its variable temperature control lets you set the exact temperature and also the amount of time you wish to infuse the tea.”
The Candy Apple Red kettle is available at ₹18,990, on kitchenaid.in.
Lotusier tea humidor
“If you are looking for an uber luxurious accessory, try Lotusier’s tea humidor.” With hand-blown crystal containers, each fitted with four air channels to maintain an even distribution of humidity, it evolved from four years of collaboration between artisans in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. It comes in five designs — Déco, Andalus, Indus, Cha-Jing, and Saicho — inspired by the tea drinking cultures of China, Japan, India, the Middle East, and the Occident.
At approximately ₹9,01,100, on lotusier.com.
Double walled cups
“I enjoy drinking tea in double walled cups as you can see the liquor and the colour very clearly. Drinking tea is as much about the taste as it is about the visual appeal. Not many realise that you can have at least 300 to 400 different colour combinations when you brew the beverage — from shades of reds, oranges and amber whites, to greens, yellow greens, etc. It is an extremely visual drink to enjoy.”
Pick up The Tea Makers of London’s handmade Zenshi cup and saucer, at ₹950, on theteamakers.co.uk, or Teabox’s clear glass option at ₹799, on in.teabox.com.
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