Tea Box Tea Trails

Everyone’s Cup Of Tea – Tea Trails, Ashok Nagar

For reasons right from its taste and aroma to it’s health benefits, tea is rightfully placed as the most consumed beverage on this planet after water. Only a handful of cafés in Chennai specialise in teas and now another elaborate tea place has graTEAfyingly arrived. Having been here for about 5 months now, located in an area with no other established cafes, Tea Trails at Ashok Nagar is one to stand for quite sometime.

It’s a simple, minimally designed place with eye soothing decor and lighting that’s perfect for some quiet conversations and catching up over detailed interesting options of tea. The turquoise cushiony armchairs, wooden shelves with interesting decor pieces and the bright lights gave inviting ‘come-relax’ vibes. They have a good Wi-Fi connection as well to cater to those people who have to ‘stay on the grid’ even at their Chai time. 😀

Tea Trails Interiors Tea Trails

Over the past 2 months, we’ve been there thrice, one of it being for an exclusive tea tasting session where we were given a good knowledge of tea as a beverage. Being a staunch coffee lover, a detailed tea journey was never really anything of an interest before. These 3 visits have somewhat changed my views though. From an only-coffee person, I’m now comfortable with tea as well, especially the Green Teas and Lapsang Souchong!

Chamomile Green Tea Setup Tea Trails
Chamomile Green Tea

The Tea Trails experience I got at the bloggers meet was definitely an eye-opener for us regarding the traditional teas and food that is well paired with those. After thorough research and studying they have a handpicked elaborate and well-explained menu of about 80 variants of tea spread over the main categories of Green Teas, White Teas, Oolong, Black Teas, Chai and Tisanes (which are the non-tea teas). They have different methods of preparing their tea resulting in different tastes of all these variants. Once prepared, they come in a press tea maker where they stand to continue infusing until the sand timer says it’s time to enjoy the drink.

A wooden tray carries these along with a card regarding the nutritional facts of that tea type.The flaky biscuit they serve with the tea is unique yet classic. Not overly sweet, it was a good supplement to the Tea Time.  A few of their teas can be refilled a second time as the same leaves have more of the infusion left. Their menu also includes an ample selection of short eats and quick bites equally catering for the vegetarians and non-vegetarians and a few desserts (on display). They also offer ‘Tea Services’ which are a bundle of their recommended food and tea combos.

A quick look at a few types of teas and it’s apt food buddy:

  • Kashmiri Kahwa with Burmese Tea Salad
Kashmiri Kahwa Tea Trails
Kashmiri Kahwa
Burmese Tea Salad Tea Trails
Burmese Tea Salad

{Green Tea community} This was a super refreshing and herb-y tea enhanced with slivered almonds. One of my favourites! The Salad was crunchy and fresh, perfect for ‘em health freaks. The fermented tea leaves was slightly bitter and added a different flavour to the otherwise usual salad.

  • Silver Needle with Bun Maska
Bun Maska Tea Trails
Bun Maska

{White Tea community} The most subtle in the flavour of teas! This was well complimented by the utterly soft, heavily buttered tutti-frutti bun (Iranian style)

  • Oolong with Marbled Egg Salad
Oolong Tea Tea Trails
Oolong Tea
Marble Egg Salad Tea Trails
Marble Egg Salad

To me, the Oolong felt like a slightly stronger version of the Green Tea. It was soothing and mildly punchy. The Marbled Egg Salad was yummy with it’s soft tea flavoured eggs.

  • Lapsang Souchong with Smoked Sandwiches
Lapsang Souchong Tea Trails
Lapsang Souchong
Smoke Paneer Sandwich Tea Trails
Smoke Paneer Sandwich

If you love STRONG flavours this is what you gotta go for. The smoky Souchong is too strong a tea and is one of their specialities. Smoked Sandwiched come with Paneer and Chicken and individually it was filling by itself. Strong BBQ flavour was what dominated it the most. It comes with a side of fresh fries which was just about okay.

  • Kullad Chai with Onion Pakoda
Kullad Chai Tea Trails
Kullad Chai
Onion Pakoda Tea Trails
Onion Pakoda

As Indian as it can get, this adorable flavoured Chai comes in a little earthen cup. It had a good hit of cardamom which was tantalising. Tea time would be incomplete with those Indian snack delicacies and the Onion Pakora with the Chutney was a happy combo with the Kullad Chai. I felt these Pakodas to be too greasy though.

Other than this we were given a lot more types of tea to explore and taste and these are a few of them:

  • Bubble Teas
Lychee Bubble Tea Trails
Lychee Bubble Tea
Tapioca Bubble Tea Tea Trails
Tapioca Bubble Tea

We were given two types of Bubble Teas to try: Lychee & Tapioca. It was explained that these were conceptually the traditional Taiwanese bubble teas with hot Nilgiri black tea and the added flavour. Lychee Bubble Tea was really thin and slightly over sweet. It’s bubbles just burst *poof* in your mouth and that was like a mouth alarm. 😀 The Tapioca Bubble Tea aced in it’s flavour with huge hits of coconut flavour and its slightly chewy tapioca flavoured bubbles.

  • Red Zen
Red Zen Tea Trails
Red Zen (In tasting cup)

This was one from the Tisanes. It had a ZING in it and the apple flavour really came through as an aftertaste. This was a type of dessert drink.

  • Buttered Apple Tea
Buttered Apple Tea Tea Trails
Buttered Apple Tea

Literal to it’s name, this black tea came with an actual blob of butter and fresh apple! It was totally unique and something that was completely unexpected taste wise. Melted butter, slight apple flavour with a black tea was the taste that hit my mouth.

  • Better Wife
Better Wife Tea Trails
Better Wife

This was one of their highly recommended “Mocktails” and was rightfully so. Cold, refreshing and punchy with the combo of fruit and an iced tea shake. It was especially satisfying after all those hot teas we were having. It was one of the best drinks of the evening.

We also got to try a few other munchies from their menu. The Egg Kejriwal was one which stood out. It was perfect ‘comfort food’ for me. Fried eggs, cheese and chilli on a toasted bun 🙂 As opposed to this their Vada Pav and Kheema Pav was substandard. Both were too dry and not as authentic in taste, especially the Kheema which was more like a Bhurji.

Egg Kejriwal Tea Trails
Egg Kejriwal
Vada Pav Tea Trails
Vada Pav
Kheema Pav Tea Trails
Kheema Pav

From the pastries, we tried the Pound Cake and the Dutch Truffle. The Pound Cake was melt-in-the-mouth warm and hearty. It was quite a big portion and would serve as a complete tea time filler with your cuppa. The Dutch Truffle was sinfully yum. While I didn’t like the cake which was slightly dry, the layers of gooey chocolate made up for it.

Dutch Truffle Tea Trails
Dutch Truffle
Pound Cake Tea Trails
Pound Cake

What I’d noticed during all my visits was their slight lack of service. While the staff are extremely diligent and amicable, the service is a bit slow. It is mentioned on their cards though, despite which I found the food to be oddly delayed. Everything is made fresh in the kitchen near the counter and it takes about 20 mins for almost anything to arrive. That being said, they definitely are accommodating and amenable.

On one visit I tried their Burmese Tea Service where I got Oolong Tea, Burmese Tea Salad and Samosa Thauk. It was a wholesome and well-rounded experience in itself. The Thauk was an ingenious addition! Looked like Chaat (Channa Samosa) with a masala base and cut up samosa but it was only deceptively so.  On first taste it was extremely tangy and alien to my palate and slowly I grew to love it. A lotta peas, fresh rings of onion and little samosas blended so well with the Burmese style gravy.

Samosa Thauk Tea Trails
Samosa Thauk

Tea Trails is a great place to hangout, overall. Pricing is quite nominal here as well where the cost for two would be about Rs. 500-600 for some good teas and a few quick bites. The definitive place to satiate your teaste buds, Tea Trails is one of those welcome cafes in the city for some much needed tea hit in our caffeinated lives.

WTF METER FOR TEA TRAILS:

Ambiance – 7/10

Service – 7/10

Presentation – 8/10

Quality – 8/10

Quantity – 9/10

Food – 7/10

Beverages – 8/10

VFM – 8/10

Overall 8/10

Wifi – Yes

Find Tea Trails on Tea Trails Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

 

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Nandini Srinivasan

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