Every now and then, I like to do something that makes me feel snobbish and better about myself. Admit it, who doesn’t? I attended a tea-pairing workshop organized by Infinitea. Aptly titled ‘Tea Taster’s Anonymous’, the tea-pairing workshop had us try out five varieties of tea and understand what food went best with it. Driven by Gaurav S, who is the Tea Master and the Chef at Infinitea, the session got off to a very interesting start where we were told about the pretty awesome history of tea and how it came to be a very important part of India’s food and beverage landscape. We were told in great detail about how tea is picked, the defining features that make each tea different, flushes (no...Not what you are thinking) of tea and a lot more interesting facts.
The first tea served was the Spring Speciality, First Flush, Oolang Tea from Infinitea’s own tea estate. This tea had a strong earthy smell and taste to it. Not to sound very poetic, but this smell is characteristic of proper non-mainstream teas from Darjeeling. Complementing the taste required a strong sweet companion. This came in the form of lovely Apple, date and cinnamon tea cake. I would have this cake even without any tea. It took a lot of restraint to not fill my tummy with just the cake as we had four more pairings to go.
|Spring Speciality, First Flush, Oolang Tea|
|Apple, Date and Cinnamon Tea Cake|
Next up was the China Jasmine Green Tea with real jasmine. The whiff of the tea powder gave off a strong jasmine fragrance and that came out in the tea as well. Having been used to traditional bitter green tea, this tea tasted quite refreshing and went excellent with the almond cookies. This was the most sober pairing of the evening.
|China Jasmine Green Tea with Jasmine|
We moved on to a full-bodied black tea known as the Risheehat Second Flush. I’m not a big fan of black teas, so I found this one to be strong and bitter. The tea does have a slight kick at the end owing to the caffeine. I did however like the mild Tiramisu that gave this tea company.
|Risheehat Second Flush|
Most of us assume that tea is only made from tea leaves. The reality is that any leaf, flower, fruit that is boiled in water to allow the extracts to blend with the water qualifies as tea. Keeping this in mind, we were introduced to my favourite tea of the evening; well it was actually a melange. From Germany, this was a mixture of hibiscus, carrots, orange, rose bits and other dried fruits. The melange smelt almost like being in a candy land and tasted equally mind-blowing. And since it had no caffeine, this could also be had as a juice at any time of day. We were originally supposed to have some English scones, making me truly snobbish, but had to settle for some pretty neat Bruschetta owing to some mix up in the kitchen.
The final tea for the evening was a strong fresh herbal tea popularly known as the Stress Blocker. The tea smells like a lovely herb garden that has just been watered and tastes amazing. It truly did make me feel better. Or was it the contrasting delicious Hazelnut and Belgian Chocolate Cake Bites? I don’t know.
My favourite tea for the evening was the Fruit Melange and I recommend you try that out the next time you head to Infinitea. Having been a part of a few wine, beer and whiskey pairing sessions, the tea pairing session was something different and was quite fun. Kudos to Gaurav for keeping everyone entertained with stories of tea and introducing me to this lovely world of tea.
|Gaurav S - Tea Master and Chef|
I’ll be honest and admit – I did go into work the next day and frowned upon all the philistines drinking the well-cooked masala chai. I do recommend you call up and try to attend the next session; it’s something different and opens you up to a whole new world.