Waking up to a copy of The Telegraph along with a piping hot cup of tea is an everyday affair in Kolkata. Now world peace may be a dream but any ‘adda’ over chai will definitely bond people enough to keep the white flag waving high. You are a true Kolkattan when you know the significance of tea in everyone’s life here. Tea is an integral part of the daily routine and functioning of the body systems halts without consuming this magic potion.
There are people who cannot survive without a cup of tea and there are some who worship their favourite tea stalls no less than an ardent devotee.
Here’s walking down the lanes and by lanes of Kolkata in search of the best Tea stalls that have enraptured hearts and a lot of taste buds.
1. Sharma Tea
A breakfast heaven for all foodies, but tea lovers can never give this one a miss. To some, it’s been a tradition heading down to this outlet and indulging in a Rs 7 cup of tea before heading out to work and get engaged in the hustle and bustle of the city. Hazra road wouldn’t be the same without Sharma’s.
2. Balwant Singh’s Eating House
Most people flock to the Bhawanipore outlet for a tall Punjabi glass of ‘Doodh Cola’, but instead end up sipping on a piping hot cup of Kesaria Chai that makes you forget all other drinks. A last resort hub for all party goers, Balwant Singh is open till 2 AM and at times till the wee hours of morning, providing service to the tired. A single cup and you are good to go.
3. Arun Tea Stall
This infamous shop not just boasts of the delectable Kachoris but is also famous for their Kesar chai that has been a pal for morning walkers and the Xaverians alike. The tiny hub situated in a cosy nook near Theatre Road sells a cup for as low as Rs 12. A single sip of the tea is enough to send you back to the roots of Kashmir. The aroma is tantalizing and you are bound to shell out coins for another cup.
4. Dolly’s The Tea Shop
Out on a shopping spree at Dakshinapan, Dhakuria? This tiny stall that is almost equivalent to a cafe spells out cute. Hidden behind night wear and skirts, this shop has the most adorable set of seats to perch yourself on and relish different types of tea. Who said only milk tea was what defined Kolkattans? Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Nilgiri, Assam or the multiple other variants of tea are enough to detoxify and rejuvenate your system.
5. Maharani and Maharaja
Head further south and you’ll hit the two joints defining the royal stature of tea that has shovelled a corner for itself in every Kolkattan’s heart. You may wonder that once the ‘Kachoris’ are gorged on, you’d be full for the day. Trust us, your meal is incomplete without having a cup of steaming hot tea from either of the sibling shops. Rs 7 is all you need to sit back and let the flavours make your heart pound faster.
6. Shamol Da’s Tea
University days are never deemed fun, if you haven’t had the customary ‘Adda’ with your batch mates at the university tea stalls; and Jadavpur Univeristy students walking out of Gate 4 can never say no to Shyamol Da who concocts the best tea in the entire area. Don’t miss out on the classic rock and pop songs he plays in the background. Good taste in music and great tasting tea are a students’ comfort zone.
7. Nachiketa tea stall
Somewhere between pushing people and being pushed at Jadavpur 8B, you’ll end up finding yourself standing right in front of a tiny tea stall with a number of pictures of Nachiketa, the maestro of vocals, hanging off the wooden railings. Rs 5 for tea served in the classic ‘bhaand’, this ‘doodh cha’ is like no other, with the sweet milkiness and added flavour of ginger setting the mood just right.
Now devoted tea lovers might break into a fight and suggest that the tea stalls in their ‘para’ are much better and stand as legends when it comes to tea; but as controversial a topic as this might be, we agree that such is the love for this hot beverage, that no one shop can stand the greatest in its might. Perhaps to each their own. Cheers to that! *clink*