In India, tea is not only a favourite drink, it is an integral part of the culture and life of every Indian. Besides being the most preferred household drink, tea is also celebrated outside the house in millions of tea stalls, virtually visible in every street corner of the country.
However, in a country, where no important decisions are taken without a cup of tea, the concept of branded tea cafés hasn’t flourished like its coffee counterparts…until now. This might be the abundance of tea in this subcontinent, which somehow downplayed its status substantially. Another reason could be that tea has always been sold on the sidewalks and railways stations, and not in cafés. Coffee, on the other hand, was rare, so it made it to the elite groups. Plus, the glitz and glamour of international coffee chains, which started entering India, was also responsible to a great extent in making coffee a style statement. These chic and shiny coffee parlours steadily made their way into posh upmarket localities, and quickly, turned into trendy and fashionable hangout zones for youngsters and college-goers.
The trend, nevertheless, is rapidly changing, with brands like TE-A-ME exclusively focusing on creating premium tea experiences through high quality teas in exciting assortment of flavours. As these new flavours get introduced in hotel menu planning, it’s giving tea a new place in the urban café culture and also elevating customer experience to a whole new level.
Apart from India’s very own Darjeeling tea and Assam tea, which has gathered a strong fan following across the world, variants like the ‘masala chai’, jasmine tea, and tea flavoured with lemon, mint, ginger, honey and so on are also making speedy inroads in the menu list.
The Love for Tea is Growing
It is interesting to see that countries that are usually considered as coffee-loving nations are now increasingly warming up to tea. Researchers from around the world support this notion too. Stanford geographer, Martin Lewis, points out how the geography of this hot beverage called tea is rapidly changing.
While India has always been a tea-loving country, cafés and restaurants can capitalize on this new wave of popularity by presenting tea in its new avatars. For instance, green tea is currently a fad among fitness-conscious, while its health benefits are scientifically proven. Including green tea and green tea-based drinks can appeal to a select section of consumers. Similarly, tea-based infusions in flavours like cranberry-apple, strawberry cream, and orange-ginger etc. can be a huge attraction for the young, college-going crowd. Aromatic spice teas and Classic black teas like Darjeeling and Assam teas are, of course, all-time favourites.
India’s Tea Café Culture is On the Rise
Rising income levels, growing aspirations, and an increasing demand for better consumer experiences are paving the way for exotic tea lounges in the country’s metro cities. Being set up as contemporary hangout zones for the young crowd, the total count of tea bars in the country presently stands at 250+, mirroring the coffee revolution ushered in by international coffee chains sometime around the early 2000s.
As more and more people are migrating to chai cafés and tea lounges from home-brewed teas, the market is opening up widely, driving an exponential growth in the number of tea café launches in the world’s biggest tea-loving nation.