Tea expert Rishav Kanoi, started The Tea Trove in the hope of reaching out to the youth expanding the horizon of gourmet tea, in the year 2012, and now The Tea Trove has attracted attention of not only the regular tea lovers but had also managed to grab the attention of youths making them try various healthy and tasty flavours of the hot beverage.
Realising the huge gap in prices between premium quality and medium grade teas, Rishav Kanoi convinced his family, who have been in the tea business for almost a hundred years, to invest in upgrading their factories. And within a short time they started producing one of the best quality teas in Assam. After profitably exiting the family business, Rishav launched The Tea Trove café and soon became a favourite with Kolkatans.
In an interview, Mr and Mrs Kanoi, share the story of The Tea Trove, explaining the creative process behind tea making with a century’s experience.
You not only sell tea leaves but also infusers and other things instrumental in preparing tea. Are there plans of opening up a segment for coffee as well?
We are a tea company through and through… We have a legacy of 100 years in the tea industry and hence felt that we should be providing our customers with a complete tea experience, so that they do not have to hunt for anything related to tea in any other places, hence, the sale of all the other things related to tea in our counters. We do not plan to enter the coffee segment anytime in the future, but then as the saying goes – NEVER SAY, NEVER!
Now, for example who would have thought of tea as a savory beverage? But we with our research and development team are currently working on Savory Teas such as Carrot Tea, Broccoli Cilantro Tea and Tomato Mint Tea (to be launched soon).
Your most sold item?
Moroccan Mint, Detox, Maharaja Kashmiri Kahwa and Assam Masala, are some of the most popular teas from our counters.
The story behind whisky-chai:
Well, its not so much a story but something that we just did, not knowing whether it would work or not, on a whim!! But we are glad that we did it and that it’s worked out so well and garnered so much attention in the market.
Who’s the brain behind creating new blends and different mixes? How long does it usually take to create a new flavour?
The main person behind creating the blends is Rishav Kanoi, Owner/Founder/TEO of The Tea Trove. We also allow custom blending of teas and hence some of our customers are also behind some of the blends that we have, our staff after being trained in the art of blending are also given a free hand in trying to create a blend and hence also contribute to the same.
Creating blends is an art and hence cannot have a time line attached to it… we can create blends on the spot for customers based on inputs garnered from them or we may take a week or so to create something that we have been working on in the back of our mind.
To retain the aroma of tea, it is customary to store high quality tea leaves in opaque containers (mostly wooden). How do you maintain the quality of your tea packed in glass containers?
To maintain tea quality the teas and the other ingredients blended with the teas, the teas need to be packed in an air tight and moisture controlled environment, away from direct sunlight. Wooden chests are normally suggested if you have a huge quantity of tea that you want to use over a prolonged period of time, but since most people like to experiment with various flavours and teas from different gardens they normally buy small quantities like 200 gm on an average which is not required to be stored in wooden chests. Secondly, when our customers buy teas from us we provide them with zip lock, foil packets in which if the teas are stored properly by ensuring that the zip is completely sealed after use and is kept away from direct sunlight, the teas maintain their quality.
Also when we store teas in our counters we use food grade moisture absorbents, which help us maintain the quality of teas even if they are opened time and again for sale purposes (display units of tea).
Do you have plans of giving lessons on brewing tea to gourmands and aspiring tea tasters?
YES! we are planning to organise a tea pairing and tasting session soon in Delhi where in the gourmands and aspiring tea tasters would be highly welcome.
Your love for the beverage has really set the ball rolling. How has the journey been this far?
This has been a thrilling journey with a lot of learning along the way for us, but with tea running in our veins and the passion for our product driving us, we have taken each failure in a pragmatic way and have always looked forward with positivity. We are very happy to now see our labours bear fruit when we see the acceptance and appreciation of our customers.
Are you planning to expand your franchise (the tea trove restaurant) to other parts of India?
We have plans to go pan India for sure but with the kiosk model, with us covering and establishing our presence in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore this year (2018).
Looks like other parts of India is going to get a sip of the Kanois’ creation very soon! You can also order some of their flavourful tea blends online from here if you are not in Kolkata, but are craving for an aromatic hot cuppa.