Here's How This Tea Sommelier is Changing the Game for The Most Popular Beverage Market
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Tea and coffee are the most sought after and consumed beverages. Globally, consumption of tea has only increased over the years. Moreover, tea is something that is consumed in all seasons. It particularly has an enormous pan Indian audience and is available in the country in different forms. India has been one of the largest exporters of tea for a long time. 2017 saw one of the biggest tea exports by India valued at 240.68 million kg according to Economic Times. The exports were in all valued at Rs. 4731.66 crores. The tea market has undergone major shifts owing to the health benefits it has to offer. With an increasing health conscious population, the last decade has seen the rise of different forms which claims to give maximum health benefits.
Not Just About Selling Tea
Tea is not just about selling tea or chai as it is commonly called in India. It is an experience much more than. This is what India’s first tea sommelier, Radhika Batra believes. Batra, one of the first women tea sommeliers in India opened her first tea boutique in 2006 after working a brief stint with the top advertising agencies.“The urge to start my own venture was always in there and I took the plunge,” she shares.The tea boutique became a hub for all products right from tea leaves and teaware to even tea books! Soon, many innovations and changes down he line, she founded Radhika’s Fine Tea and Whatnots.
Hailing from a Punjabi background, Batra was well aware of the importance of tea ethics and that spurred her to delve into the processes that go around it.
Opportunity and Passion
So what drove her to venture into this rare industry? “Opportunity and passion,” pat comes the reply. “Opportunity because a lot of coffee shops mushroomed but nobody served the perfect leaf or knew beyond chai and passion because it’s not just about selling tea for me.” Batra is constantly driven by the need to innovate and educate the masses on this most popular beverage.
She toiled her way through scaling the tea gardens of Assam, Darjeeling and even China. She gained apprenticeship from her experiences gained on fields by witnessing the operations of plucking and processing. Growers and manufacturers gave her a kind of training no school or institution could have.
Some ups and downs at initial stages proved to be a inringboard for progress. Today Batra is reaching out to the world in myriad ways, especially through her tea ceremonies which include the art of tea making, its slow cooking, rituals, appreciation, brewing etc. Corporates, hotels, restaurants, theatre, art, the derby, college fests, there isn’t any place where Batra’s tea skills and knowledge have not been explored and shared.
Every Tea Has a Mission
Batra is very clear on the mission of her endeavours. “Each tea in our menu has a purpose,” she says without any hesitation. “This makes the enterprise rock solid in bringing good quality organic leaves to the customer that they can enjoy and not just drink cheap teas full of dust, chemicals and preservatives.”
Radhika Batra has classified her tea brand into three categories- romance, connoisseur and healing. The first focuses on teas that bring hope and happiness, the second category includes fine teas, exclusively for tea lovers and finally, the third category caters to a consumer market that looks for wellness and health favouring options in the tea family.
Perhaps that is why every tea on the menu resonates a hundred feelings with the consumer.