Exalte – The high tea
“Tea can be delicious even if we don’t add milk to it”, says Shivani Chakravarty, founder of Exalte Tea. Whilst working for a lingerie brand, on one of her business trips to Hong Kong she came across a variety of teas that she had never seen in India. “I have always been a tea person. I get cranky if I don’t get my two morning cuppas so exploring more about tea came naturally to me.” What started as just an interest turned into a venture and Chakravarty launched Exalte Tea with an idea of turning a regular cup of tea into a feeling of luxury.
How did she go about the research? “There’s no end to tea market. You keep going deeper and deeper and you keep finding more, and more. So it’s always a learning experience for you – the tea leaves, the proper brewing, different kind of tea leaves, different processes, and different tea estates. How they are different because of elevation, soil, temperature, air. So I started digging deep into it. It started as a passion and I couldn’t see myself doing anything but tea. It started like that and now I am totally into it. All my thoughts revolve around tea”, says Chakravarty.
Why Exalte? “It means ‘to offer an elevated sense of well-being for mind, body and soul’ in French. So once you experience these teas you feel better, it’s a better experience, a higher experience vis a vis other CTC teas that you get off the shelf,” says Chakravarty talking about the name of her brand.
For a country that wakes up to strong cup of chai, there’s still a lot that we don’t know about the variety of teas that exist today. Through Exalte, Chakravarty is trying to educate people about the beauty as well as benefits of unprocessed loose tea leaves. “The mainstay is definitely the tea with milk but there’re a lot more varieties than just the milk tea. The well-travelled Indians are aware of these teas but for everyone to get to that level of experimenting with tea is what we’re trying to do,” she says. Exalte has different teas for different occasions, festivals and even times of the day. The customers get to sample the tea first in order to make a choice as per the taste and liking. Customization as per the occasion is an option that is always offered and new blends are created based on the requirement of the customer. “We concentrate on packaging our tea for corporate and wedding gifts too because it has a longer shelf life than any other food product,” says Chakravarty.
The base tea used for the blends is of premium quality most of which come from Darjeeling and some from Assam and Nilgiri too; there’s no addition of dust or broken leaves. Exalte doesn’t use flavours either. Their Tulsi Green Tea has actual ginger, tulsi leaves and lemon. Similarly the Apple Cinnamon Tea has pieces of apple and real cinnamon. “Cinnamon has a strong aroma so if you smell more of apple in the tea blend it means there’s some flavouring added to it,” Chakravarty says.
Does she frown upon the typical Indian milk tea now? “Tea leaves should never go to the flame whether it’s black tea, green tea or white tea. It’s always the water that should be boiled. But boiling tea with milk is an inherent and inbuilt habit which is difficult to change and we’re not trying to do that,” says Chakravarty. “However, we’d like to get people to that point where they’re ready to explore other varieties,” she adds. While the consumption of green tea has grown owing to its weight loss properties, Chakravarty points out that it too needs to be had in moderation and mixed-up with exercise and a healthy diet. She adds that white tea, too, is great for health, boosts immunity, and prevents ageing and cancer. From Exalte’s “However, we’d like to get people to that point where they’re ready to explore other varieties,” she adds. While the consumption of green tea has grown owing to its weight loss properties, Chakravarty points out that it too needs to be had in moderation and mixed-up with exercise and a healthy diet. She adds that white tea, too, is great for health, boosts immunity, and prevents ageing and cancer.
From Exalte’s collection our favourite picks are the Kashmir Valley Green Tea – the base is a green tea with different kind of ingredients like rose petals, almonds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom; like a typical kahwa; the all-time relaxant Jasmine tea and Darjeeling Silver Needle Luxure. Exalte products can be purchased by contacting Shivani directly or by ordering via the Scootsy Food Delivery App, they are listed under the Food Store section.