TEA Trip One – Rishikesh, The Yoga Capital Of The World!

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The increasing worldwide interest in yoga has made Rishikesh a hot destination for all yoga lovers from around the world. People, who love yoga, also consider tea as a spiritual medium to heal and connect with their inner self. To explore the emerging tea culture in Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world, ‘Love for Tea’ decided to hit the road and explore the city.

Rishikesh, a nature buff’s paradise, has a serene and calm ambience, that will completely absorb you. With both relaxed and reverent vibes- right on the bank of river ganga, with fresh mountain air, sunrise over the peaks, incessantly ringing temple bells and power packed yoga centers and devotees, the city is a must visit tea destination.

After checking into a beautiful room at Tapovan, on the hilltop, we started our day of adventure. We walked through the forest from our hotel and reached Swiss Garden Restaurant. It’s a beautiful bistro in the middle of forest- with huge variety of great tea, awesome food, calm ambience, trance music and yes, free wifi. This place is a magnet for tea lovers and I highly recommend it.

Some of the teas that I tried here over the next few days are Mint tea, Herbal tea, Ayurvedic tea, Honey ginger lemon and Nepali tea. Nepali chai, as called by the locals, is made with spices without any tea leaves. It’s delicious and a must have. I had to connect with the head chief and learnt the recipe first hand. The recipe for Nepali Chai lands on my blog pretty soon.

We spent our next three days hiking, trekking, visiting numerous temples and exploring tea at local restaurants & cafes. Most of them had interesting menus for all taste. Chilling by the shore of the Ganga and making new friends was our normal activity there.

One of the memorable places during my visit was the Third Eye Restaurant, where we spent an evening after a long day at the beach. Next to the Beatles café, ‘The Third Eye Restaurant’ is another beautiful place with a breath taking view. We spent crazy hours over many rounds of tea hereThe Tibetan Restaurant in Tapovan is another nice place to explore, with awesome variety of tea and multi-cultural cuisines. This place is packed with foreign travellers also because of a German bakery next door and Baba massage center right in front.

The organic and spiritual energy in Rishikesh reflects in the tea here, which besides being completely different in it’s presentation, is mostly made from fresh herbs, that offers a unique tea experience.

Best time to visit Rishikesh is during the winters. Tapovan is a must explore destination for all nature lovers. Thus we continued our Tea quest further towards the east of India, where the tea was already brewing for our arrival.

Thank You ‘Lock Cha’ For Yellow Tea

hong kong cafe

“Tea is like a library, where every book has a purpose”- Love for Tea

Yellow tea and me, it was love at first sight. I was in Hong Kong for work and I wanted to check out some local tea cafes during my stay. It was a bright chilly afternoon and I walked by Lock Cha Tea Shop, right in Hong Kong park, which seemed like a nice quiet pleasure in the busy city. When I walked in, I felt pure tea-nirvana.

The place is a tea museum and the entry is free. It’s very vibrant and has lot of stuff going around, from display of ancient tea pots, tea making equipment, lessons on how tea should be served, tea-wares consulting, to tea etiquette and whole lot of tea inspiration. Lock Cha Tea shop is a very traditional place where one can truly experience Chinese culture and where people are always thrilled to serve you some tea. The tea shop is equally spirited with a wonderful menu of more than 100 kinds of tea, with clear explanation about their flavors.

There was a tea-tasting ceremony happening at the tea shop and I just flew for it. It was a beautiful and a spiritual experience, that felt like a cross-country road trip along with tea, with so many varieties of tea and flavors, known and unknown, on the way. Here, I tasted yellow tea and it was sunshine in my cup.