A Bit of India in Your Cup

It’s getting easier and easier for you to have an authentic cuppa Indian-style spiced tea at home. First, there was Tipu’s Chai, and now there is Jaipur Avenue Tea. Powder in a packet. Just open, dump in a cup, add hot water, stir, enjoy.

Of course, that’s not really authentic, but we’re talking authentic taste here, not authentic methodology. Personally, I’d much rather have the powder in a packet.

Owner Jillu Zaveri is another person who followed the lure of tea away from a previous career. She was a fabric designer for Oscar de la Rente. In 2010, she decided to try her hand at bringing a favorite beverage of her native India to the American market and so started Jaipur Avenue Tea. She recognized the need for a quick-to-fix yet authentic tasting tea. Since then the tea has garnered a bit of praise, including one of the top five chais in Seattle.

To promote the products, Zaveri hired one of the best PR firms around (Gruman & Nicoll) and had a great commercial photographer, Sean Hoyt, take photos (a picture is worth a thousand words — definitely). So many articles are already out there, in fact, that I was hard-pressed to tell you anything new.

The tea is sold in grocery stores in Seattle and Redmond, Washington, and on Amazon.com. Really? What can you say about a tea that’s sold on (chortle) Amazon.com? Cheap *bleeping* tea, right? Wrong. And if you do say that, I will personally come to your house, wag my finger in your face, and say “Not so!” (Well, not really, but I bet that made you scared for a moment.) It’s quality black tea from India and real ingredients, not artificial flavorings.

At this time, there are only a few flavors available:

Original Masala  —  Ginger  —  Cardamom  —  Vanilla  —  Saffron

Some of the ingredients used are shown in this beautiful photo by Hoyt (used with his permission):
Clockwise from top left: Cinnamon sticks, saffron, cardamom, black peppercorns.

When I think of India, I tend to think of bright colors, so the dull brown box the samples came in was not what I expected. The full boxes, though, as seen on the company website, are in yellows, oranges, reds, and browns, a bit more variety. However, some blues (like I see in photos of the skies of Jaipur, India) and greens (like the tea gardens the tea leaves come from) would have been nice. (These colors seem to be present in this photo by Hoyt of Zaveri’s own home.) Overall, the palette seems a bit cliché and a tad boring, but at least I have a fuller context in which to view it. And, considering that she lives in the Seattle, Washington, area, I should be happy the packaging isn’t in shades of gray.

Another Flash site – ugh! The company donates a percentage of the profits to charities. Nice but not a reason to buy their teas.

So What’s “Jaipur”?

Jaipur is the name of a very modern city in India, with many thriving industries and an international airport. Like a lot of European cities, Jaipur has gates that remain as a sign of the city’s former days when being behind fortified walls was a necessity. Lots of modern architecture abounds, too, with angled planes made of concrete, steel girders, and large panes of glass reflecting the brilliant blue of the sky over the city. There is also a very active cultural section, with arts, crafts, and performance. Most importantly, it’s a city full of people who really know their chai!

Don’t Miss the Reviews

My adventures with this tea will be chronicled, as always, on Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews, even though that little teapot will not be directly involved with the preparation. He will certainly supervise. Since we received two packets of each flavor, we hope to try one packet hot and the other cold with ice (yes, “ice” per the vendor’s instructions) and milk.

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