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There are plenty of reasons to celebrate your favourite beverage

 

What makes a perfect cup of tea? “Time and attention,” says Snigdha Manchanda, India’s first Certified Tea Sommelier and founder of Tea Trunk. “Unlike coffee, it doesn’t require any fancy equipment, it’s the amount of time you let it brew and the attention to detail that does the trick,” she says. In India, tea has long been a staple drink. It is both comfort in a cup and a unique taste to each individual. “Tea for me is my meditative ritual in the day. The whole process of brewing to straining helps me slow down and take a breath in this fast-paced world. Even though it’s commonly known as a social engagement beverage, for me this my ‘me-time’ drink,” shares Snigdha.

The many teatime practices date back to several years ago when tea was first discovered. Legend has it that around 5000 years ago, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung chanced upon tea when leaves from a wild plant blew into his pot of boiling water. The scent intrigued his curiosity, and he took a few sips. He named the happenstance beverage ‘cha’, which means to investigate, as that’s what he felt the liquid was doing when streaming through his body. “The people in China consumed tea primarily for its health benefits, it was given as a drink when one had a headache or a stomachache,” says Snigdha. Eventually, over time, it caught on as a daily refreshment drink. The rest of the world was quick to catch on this trend in their own unique ways.
 

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In India, the Indian Tea Association, formed by the British, championed the drink all over the country. It was a campaign that meant tea was served everywhere. There were stalls on railway platforms and outside offices. The ‘tea break’ culture between office hours conditioned the public mind to adopt the idea that having this beverage meant it was time to relax. But it was remixed in its own way. The chaiwallahs added spices and flavour to the tea that otherwise tasted bitter, and it became a popular “energy” drink, still growing in popularity.
 

Snigdha Manchanda is India's first certified tea sommelier and founder of Tea Trunk, a global, premium tea brand from India.

VARIETIES AND FLAVOURS
Snigdha says Indian consumers love fun blends and flavours like rose, lemon grass and passion fruit. While the global audience prefers single origin unflavored teas. Her brand Tea Trunk also has a ‘Make your own blend’ exclusive feature that allows you to experiment with the flavours of your choice. Snigdha’s own recommendation is the ‘Rose oolong blend’. “It is an all-weather favorite that cools down your body in the summers and in winters it soothes you right after your heavy meals. Plus, it is so flavourful and aromatic that it adds to the pleasant experience.”

Despite the variety of choices now available in teas, all types actually come from one single plant. “It is unique to tea that one 

leaf from a plant called camellia sinensis gives you different types of teas. Based on the region it comes from, the grade of the leaf changes, but the original plant remains the same,” says Snigdha. The process and part of the leaf is what gives it a different identity. For e.g., white tea is made of leaf buds and young leaves instead of the fully grown ones. With every type of tea comes different benefits, and this aspect of wellness is now one of the main drivers of tea consumption today. In these times when self-care and powering your immunity are so essential, tea is a healing ritual for the mind and the body. “The only tools you need are time, patience, mindfulness and a strainer—your perfect cup of tea,” says Snigdha.

The most popular varieties of tea, and the benefits of each:

1. GREEN TEA Reduces bad cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check. It aids digestion and is also known to be anti-inflammatory. Matcha, a popular type of green tea, is packed with antioxidants and is 10 times stronger than its counterpart.

2. BLACK TEA Combats inflammation and increases immunity. Even the leftover tea leaves can be cooled and placed on bruises to relieve pain and swelling. It also helps reduce undereye dark circles and relieves skin rashes.

3. WHITE TEA Contains high amounts of fluoride that helps oral health. It has the least amount of caffeine and is a strong antioxidant.  

4. OOLONG TEA Known to reduce anxiety and increase alertness and attention. It also helps with cognitive disorders.

Every ritual begins with the right products. This is a selection of everything you need:
 

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