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Rich varietea



Flavoured hot teas and spicy ones, including the all-time Indian favourite — masala chai — complete the tea spread at Varieteas. — Photo: Murali Kumar K.

"IT BREAKS my heart when someone asks me to give his Ceylon or Darjeeling tea with a dollop of milk, but I have to. After all, the customer is king and we are running a tea bar for him," says Priya Ranganathan, who runs Varieteas at Forum Mall with her partner Shyam Kondavarthy. "Tea is best drunk black. Milk dilutes the flavour."

Priya should know. After all, her tea café serves some 65 interesting and exotic varieties of the cup, which cheers. Besides retailing another 30 high-end varieties. And it took years of researching, testing and tasting to reach here.

Varieteas' USP is something called Bubble T. It's a favourite with the kids, and Varieteas was the first place to sell it. Bubble T originated in Taiwan, and is currently one of the trendiest tea drinks in the world. A frothy, bubbly concoction made with black tea, milk, and a combination of flavours, it comes with chewy and translucent bubbles made of tapioca pearls. Served in a tall, clear glass, Bubble T has frothy bubbles on top and tapioca pearls at the bottom. You drink it with a large extra-broad straw, so that not only the liquid, but also the pearls get sucked up. The pearls are eaten as you drink. Bubble T comes in nearly 20 flavours: litchi and mango are hot favourites. One sip and you understand why.

There are plenty of takers for the iced tea too, of which there are about two dozen varieties. Connoisseurs ask for the hot teas: Assam, Ceylon, Sikkim, Darjeeling, and so on. Varieteas also retails some packed tea from Golden Tips if you want to take home a special or exotic variety. Flavoured hot teas and spicy ones, including the all time Indian favourite — masala chai — complete the tea spread. The spicy teas include the patented BubbleCcino, which they claim is the world's first bubble coffee. Varieteas also stocks munchies, purely coincidental, of course.

The trendy, contemporary interiors are by well-known Bangalore-based product designer Michael Foley. The partners' idea of tea tiles — small ceramic tiles with motifs of teakettles, teacups and saucers, etc. in metallic finish is interesting but unfortunately wasted in an obscure corner.

It may not be a gourmet's shop, only a small-sized café. But Varieteas is a fun place, ideal to head to when you have shopped till you are ready to drop, or even if you just want a change from the coffee bars that the area is teeming with.

Varieteas is at 020, The Forum 21, Hosur Road. Phone: 30623597.

ARUNA CHANDARAJU

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