Like most Indians, 36-year-old Anubha Jhawar, Founder of CELES TÉ, a luxury, artisanal tea brand, starts her day with Masala Chai. But there are times when she wishes she could have two, three different flavours of tea at once.
It won’t be wrong to say that she is a tea lover, a love that, perhaps, stems from her childhood days, when she had the opportunity to watch tea auctions in Kolkata. “My father, Manoj Jhawar is a renowned tea taster,” says Jhawar. “I’ve grown up around tea estates, watching him taste a thousand cups a day. I took a different career path, but then I realised I needed to take my legacy forward.”
An interior designer by education, in 2018, Jhawar took the tea sommelier course at the UK Tea Academy before launching her brand last August in the pandemic. Jhawar admits that she was a little jittery about the volatile market initially, but her plan to provide premium teas with conscious packaging didn’t change. The health wave that had swept the market due to the pandemic helped the brand grow faster than expected.
One of CELES TÉ’s main goals is to address the misconceptions about tea. A common myth marketed by FMCG mass-market brands is that only green tea promotes weight loss and slimming. “There’s nothing like that. Oolong tea, white tea, black tea, anything consumed without sugar and milk are all healthy,” says Jhawar.
Sharing a simple, but often overlooked tip for preparing the perfect cup of tea, the entrepreneur says, is to always follow the instructions given by a tea sommelier on the box, because he/she has chosen a certain flush, which must be brewed a particular way to bring out the desired taste. According to Jhawar, “If it’s not your regular CTC (Crush, tear, curl) chai, as a thumb rule never boil the leaves.”
Talking about her 5-year plan, Jhawar says, “I see the brand growing internationally. Right now I’m just catering to domestic, Tier-1 cities, but I hope to enter Tier-II cities as well. Spreading awareness about good quality tea is also part of the long-term plan.”
CELES TÉ offers homegrown artisanal teas, sourced from carefully chosen estates across Darjeeling, Assam, and the Nilgiri hills. Teas infused with cocoa, peppered with spices, or lightly sprinkled with floral blooms, each has a distinct character and flavour.