This Indian tea company made it to Oprah's Favourite things list of 2018
After a long day at work, I was craving for a cuppa. So when my schedule included sampling tea from Vahdam, it was indeed welcome. And the fact that this three-year-old tea company’s gift set made it to Oprah’s Favourite Things list this year, added to my curiosity. The Indian brand gets a majority of its revenue from the US and is headed by a 27-year-old, whose father runs GoldenTips, a company that has been in the tea business for over 80 years. Their newest flavour: The Blue Mountain Nilgiri White Tea. I got to sample the loose leaves that came in a classy green and gold box. Many tea lovers have a brewing ritual, but here, the unboxing itself is a ritual of sorts.
Month of picking
When you empty the box, out falls a vacuum-sealed bag with the tea, an empty ziplock cover to transfer the leaves and instruction leaflets. I struggle to transfer the contents; I wish the empty cover was a little bigger. After a good 10 minutes, I get to the brewing.
I follow the instructions to a tee: temperature, time and all that. When I take the first sip, I realise it was worth the hassle.
The tea was light, with mild grassy notes. It was even milder than green tea. As I calm down with every sip, I skim through the box and notice a label which says ‘Month of Picking’. According to the label, these leaves were picked just five months ago. And that’s why Vahdam claims it’s different from other tea brands. They ‘aim for freshness and say they have eliminated middlemen.’
For ‘tea totallers’
■ These loose leaf teas come with steeping instructions.
■ Each box is labelled with a month of picking which helps the drinker determine just how fresh it is.
■ You can opt for a pyramid tea bag which allows tea leaves to infuse better.
Scent of a tea cup
“Most teas go through numerous middlemen like auctioneers, retailers and distributors before reaching the consumer. This means that the tea is sitting in unregulated warehouses and only reaches the consumer after a year or so,” the founder Bala Sarda says in an e-mail interview. The Earl Grey Citrus Black Tea (with Bergamot extracts), is even fresher. The packaging says the leaves were picked in October. This flavour is definitely for the mornings. The scent itself wakes you up. I got sour, bitter notes and a strong punch from the tea.
The founder, who is from Darjeeling, says that the recipes are formulated by a team which has more than a 100 years of experience between the blenders! And of course, he too is part of the team formulating the recipes. The company has also started to offer their blends in pyramid tea bags, which many reports say, allow tea leaves to infuse better. I sample their black tea from Darjeeling and a green tea from Nilgiris, but only their white tea makes it to my favourite things of 2018.
Starts from Rs 200. Available on Amazon and vahdamteas.in