Talking about tea and its many flavours

Rupali Ambegaonkar of Tea Culture of the World talks about her passion for the drink and why she has dedicated her life to it.

What originated once as a medicinal drink in Southeast Asia soon went on to take the world by storm over centuries.

Tea spread across continents and with it carried a sense of culture and conversations that soon turned it into one of the most popular drinks ever.

Tea Culture of the World (TCW) is a tea brand that attempts to brings together whole leaf teas and exotic blends from India and around the world. TCW produces various varieties of tea and Rupali Ambegaonkar- Ceo at TCW talks about her passion for tea, her company goals and how it is a perfect conversation starter.

What prompted you to start TCW?

I started TCW due to my personal desire to bring the tea cultures from across the globe under one brand name.

What does tea signify to you?

Tea signifies good health, overall wellbeing and happiness. When I sip tea, I can be assured to feel at ease and relaxed.

What are your favourite flavours?

My personal favourite is tieguayin tea, matcha and aged puerh. However, I do occasionally like a bit of minty taste in my tea.

What are the health benefits of tea?

Tea is one of the healthiest beverage packed with numerous benefits, like boosting metabolism fighting cholesterol anti-aging etc.

What are some of the most exotic varieties you keep? Why are they termed exotic?

We have teas from rare tea estates across the globe. We term them exotic because these teas are sourced from remote areas not accessible to all.

Where do you source your leaves from?

We source our teas and ingredients from across the globe. Our teas come from china Japan, India, Vietnam, South Africa, South America, Egypt, Taiwan etc. our fruit berries herbs come from India Europe Mediterranean belt china and America.

What are your views on tea auction now? Has it changed, evolved?

We are a boutique tea company and do not buy tea from auctions.

Public tea auctions have always played a key role as the main vehicle for primary marketing of tea in India for over a century ever since it was set up in Calcutta in 1861. Public tea auctions handle more than 500 million kilograms annually. Time has seen it evolve and the newly designed e-Auction system is being used by all the six Auction Centres (Kolkata, Siliguri, Guwahati, Cochin, Coimbatore and Coonoor). The e-Auction system integrates the process starting from creation of invoices till the delivery of tea from the warehouses, enabling better control and avoiding duplication of work thus reducing time.

What would you say are the perfect accompaniments to tea?

Tea can be had with any food, blended in any food. The key is to pair according to the flavour profile of the tea.

Do you believe tea is a perfect start to a conversation?

Completely it can break awkward silences it can create conversations. I have had some interesting experiences when people know about me being a tea sommelier they want to know different cultures of tea around the world.

Any special memory associated with tea?

Tea is the purpose of most of my travel. Every time I travel, I bring something back to be relive. My most fond memory is my first sip of tea. Teiguayin – a Chinese oolong was the first tea I tasted and it had me smitten. Prior to this, I was never an avid tea drinker. Teiguayin inspired me to start TCW

Where do you see TCW going in the next five years?

We plan on growing and expanding in India and globally. We would see ourselves growing stronger in online and retail sales.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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