CHRONICLE EXCLUSIVE

Meet Radhika Batra Shah A Celebrated “Tea Sommelier”

Mumbai :  Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen. If Radhika Batra Shah is much celebrated “Tea Sommelier” career had to be summed up in one line, this would be apt.

Radhika Batra Shah, A tea sommelier who pioneered tea ceremonies in India in 2006, ever since a household name and owner of the organic tea brand RadhikasFineTeas. Offering authentic Indian teas, available only at the Boulevard Tea House within the Middle East, Radhikas Fine Teas feature organic, plantation-fresh whole leaf teas that are plucked from a single origin at the beginning of the harvest to provide superior “First Flush” loose leaves.

“Radhikas Fine Teas & Whatnots is all about curating and sourcing the finest leaf, plantation fresh from the tea gardens to your cup. Each leaf in my story has a purpose. All “handcrafted, bespoke, organic teas” whether straight or blended have my sommelier stamp indicating the effort and time over each tea introduced” Radhika recalls.

“Not just that Radhikasfineteas plays a big role in the F&B business by helping restaurants and hotels to set up from scratch for turnkey projects all the way from the leaf to food pairings to Tea etiquette training for the staff to Tea appreciate programmes for their patrons” she added.

Had a successful career with Tata where she spent five years in the corporate world as a Marketing professional. What made you to start Radhika’s Fine Tea? “Opportunity and passion are two words that lead to me getting into teas as young as in my 20s”

“These two factors (Opportunity/Passion) made me to leave a fantastic career as I wished to bring the finest of leaves back to being served to us. I partnered with the best tea gardens that not only sold Organic and Biodegradable teas but also cultivated the same”

Radhika always try to provide the best “Fine Tea” in the world as she travelled, discovered and partnered  with the most pristine gardens from India to China to Lanka to blenders in Thailand and Turkey and my own citation of herb teas from Greece. “Over the 12 years mission is translated via many innovatons. There is Tea for each part of the day in my menu from wake up chai to quiet moment nite teas. Each tea in my menu resonates feelings of love hope and happiness each tea has its own benefits”.

Well as an enterprenuer my responsibility is to run this business in all its honesty, “I only partner and sell organic teas and not any conventional tea, it is easier to become rich by selling cheap teas in fancy packaging but I don’t believe in that premise as I know my customer will come back to me for the quality and not the story telling only”

What makes Radhika’s Fine Tea unique is, the business run on passion and that the teas are the finest tea from alover the world, it has a ability to convert a non tea drinker to appreciate the leaf via my tea ceremonies.

“Thus my teas have been picked over the bigger tea merchants of the world due to its uniqueness and we now retail with the renowned Kempinski group the first one being in Oman for its new resort”

Meanwhile the garden plays an important role in the process of perfect tea selection, whereas this year Darjeeling Tumeric liquorice healing Tea and Darjeeling Mukhwas Digestive Chai was one of the best seller list.

“Tumeric is something Dadima always said was the golden herb and thus when blended with antioxidant tea was a wonder blend it struck a cord with all seeking healing and immunity.  Mukhwas is a Paan version created by me to fill the need for a digestive beverage post meals. Similarly all my teas go through a process of curation tastings and then only are launched”.

Radhika wished to be close to her audience and thus despite a great retail business she started taking her famed tea ceremonies that she pioneered to hotels, fine dinning, exhibits, business forums, corporate

events, HNI bank meets and many more “We launched Yautacha the Michelin starer to media via our tea ceremony where 5 Chinese teas were paired with their divine dimsums moving ahead  trained 20 chefs and sous chefs of Taj’s first organic Resto called Pure in 2006 on types of tea and food pairing via our ceremony”

She is the mistress of teas and knows it all. Her fans and tea lovers follow her charming tea innovations and interesting tea trails across the world. “Yes I do an annual trail each year either to discover a tea or a herb or the tea culture It’s a rather fascinating experience as not only am I experiencing different teas but also meeting people who share my passion some of my best ones have been discovering China’s favourite green leaf Longjing or Dragonwell tea in 2006 and introducing the same in my menu”

According to Radhika every tealeaf has it own purpose “Where as each leaf simply put means each tea has a benefit it is in my menu for a purpose be it white green oolong or black or even decaff Tisanes made of flowers fruits or herbs, each of them calm or relax or rejuvenate or heal or invigorate” She prides in spreading the charms of tea across 1000 plus entities big and small and still counting.

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