I am starting this new segment with my visit to Shangri-La. I was aware that the hotel had a lobby-level tea service where various recipes of Indian chais are served. I was in the mood for some chai this Sunday afternoon and headed to the hotel.
The hotel has redesigned the tea serving area and the entire lobby is now served with tea and other paired food. One can download the menu by scanning the QR code placed on every table.
On scanning the code and opening the menu I was pleasantly surprised to find different kinds of whole leaf teas. I wanted to know a bit more of these (I love to know the origin, season, gardens, etc. of the teas that I drink) and asked the attending girl what kind of teas are these. I was told very confidently that these are “tea powders”! (Tea powder is a term used mostly in the Southern part of India to describe CTC dust). So, I asked her again. And again I got the same answer. This was turning out to be fun. I again asked. “Are you sure, because Darjeeling teas don’t come in powder form?” Now, I got a better response – “these are tea leaves.”
“Okay! Very good, can I please get your White tea with strawberry?” This time there was another young girl who came and served me the tea. She told me these are TWG teas, and this is the second day since they upgraded the tea menu and are serving the teas.
TWG! (Many of you know that’s my most desired Tea Brand)
(Should TWG teas be described as “tea powder”?)
I am always a little skeptical when I try white tea with extra flavours added – because if you are not careful, the flavours become too prominent and we lose the essence of the white tea. Unfortunately, this happened here also.
The rest of the experience went well, the serving was good.
1. Training is the key while serving these kinds of teas. One would not describe wine as grape juice, would they?.
2. The cutlery could have been a little fancier going by the teas being served and prices being charged.
3. It’s always good to see the teas getting brewed right in front of you in a transparent carafe instead of a china kettle where you can’t see the colour changing in front of you. And without a time glass, you can either over brew or under brew the tea.
Conclusion: It was just the second day of them serving the tea so I am willing to ignore the lack of training; however having said that, it was not expected when two brands like TWG and Shangri-La are involved.
Special Shout Out to Pratima who helped clicked these wonderful images.
Post Note: I got a call from Shangri-La and we discussed the possible ways of improving the experience. It was heartening to see the quick response from the hotel management, it goes on to show the commitment of the hotel.
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