Buddies Café adds five new teas to commemorate five years in city
While Coimbatore is still warming up to the concept of a tea room, Buddies Café has attempted to turn the local “filter kapi” drinking culture on its head. Five years in the game, and Nirmal Raj’s café has made quite the dent. From being a nondescript hole-in the-wall to opening a third city outlet at the new four-star Poppys Hotel earlier last month, Buddies Café now brews 30 pots of tea — green, iced, herbal, fruit-flavoured and fruit-based — every day.
The cosy 450 sq ft café which turns five this week continues to find a large patronage among the college and office-goers. While you could credit the crowds to the consistency that the café offers in terms of quality and ambience (the wall has remained a butterscotch shade of yellow since 2012), we think it has a lot to do with the novelty brews that Nirmal keeps adding to the menu. On the occasion of their fifth anniversary, he has added five new concoctions into their already extensive menu of 70 varieties of tea.
An accident of sorts, Nirmal credits the hot cup of the new Queen Tea to his brewer Prakash B. Blended with salt, there is something oddly familiar about this sweet-savoury handcrafted black tea. However, the 27-year-old entrepreneur isn’t willing to divulge the secret ingredients. At least, not just as yet. “We plan on organising a guess-the-ingredients contest,” he says, with a laugh. Our guess of green aam panna is, however, met with a poker-faced smile. If you are looking for a cold sip, we suggest you try the ‘Peace of Mind’. The bright red portion that is a mix of blueberry, mint and vanilla, tastes nothing like tea and could pass off as a blueberry cooler.
In between bites of the new in-house speciality, the Buddy Burger, we try the hot Moroccan mint tea, a green tea steeped with spearmint and peppermint. Admittedly the owner’s favourite, the tea leaves are imported from Egypt and sweetened with, what for us is a little excessive amount of sugar. Thankful for the generous serving of the onion mayo salad that covers the juicy chicken patty in our burger, we go back for a bigger bite. Topped off with a semi-poached and fried egg, this mouthful reveals a perfectly cooked egg with a runny yolk.
Part and parcel
Their small bites section that now includes momos come paired with a spicy sauce and makes for the perfect accompaniment for the sweeter teas. Also on the charts, alongside the new D-cold herbal tea are Danjo hand-rolled tea packets. “All our teas are handpicked which means they always contain two leaves and a bud,” shares Nirmal. Look out for market favourites like Earl Grey, black and green tea from Nilgiris and Darjeeling, Rooibos chocolate ginger tea sourced from South Africa and our favourite, a pick from the existing menu, Old Memories — a hot blend of cherries, elderberry, raspberry and kiwi that requires no added sugar.
Tea starts at Rs 80 onwards. Danjo teas start at Rs 450 for 25 grms. At Buddies Café. Details: 8220804250
— Rebecca Vargese
Pics: A Raja Chidambaram