Somewhere between homemade masala chai and chai-tea lattes, the essence of Indian tea is facing a bit of an existential crisis. Boutique tea label No. 3 Clive Road came around to restore and reinvent the art of tea appreciation. No. 3 Clive Road blends together the best of local tea leaves, herbs, flower petals and other natural ingredients to create a myriad of inspiring Indian brews. We met with founder Radhika Chopra over — no points for guessing — a chilled glass of Iced Tea (find the recipe below!), to steal brewing secrets and follow her down her amazing tea trails.
I wanted to create a brand around No. 3 Clive Road, the home in New Delhi where my father was born. To me the address, the home, and the stories of my father's family growing up in Delhi in the 1920s and 30s was a history that I wanted to preserve and hold onto forever. I'm a passionate collector of tea from around the world. No. 3 Clive Road was born from my desire to create a tea brand that celebrated our tea traditions, my travels through India, and my family history.
I have a classic masala chai at home — nothing like a strong masala chai with spices such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper to awaken the senses and keep me energised throughout the day. Our Madurai Masala Chai is inspired by my very own morning tea. I repeat it at 4 pm to give me that kick in the middle of the day.
Our Aurangzeb Blend is an elegant blend of Assam black tea with cardamom, ginger, rose petals, jasmine and marigolds, which does not require milk. It should be brewed for two to three minutes and served with a touch of honey. The slightly stronger Madurai Masala Chai should be brewed for three to five minutes and served with milk and brown sugar.
It is really important for me to create a brand that speaks to both quality and aesthetics, but is also very Indian, for example using Indian ingredients and celebrating the Indian textile tradition on our boxes. Some of my favourite brands that have inspired me to create No. 3 Clive Road are Jo Malone, Mariage Frères, Kama Ayurveda, Dyptique, and Le Labo.
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in Tokyo, called Chadō. The Japanese consider Chadō as one of the three art forms of refinement, which also includes incense appreciation and flower arrangement. What struck me the most about the tea ceremony is the importance it plays in Japanese culture, which extends to their daily lives — this includes their love for sharing tea with guests, the presentation of tea and special pairings with delicate sweets, and the ceramics they use for tea service.
There are times that I like to serve our Jodhpur Blend with a classic high tea of scones and clotted cream and delicate cucumber sandwiches on a 3-tier serving platter. But other times, I love our classic pakoras and samosas with Madurai Masala Chai served in kullars.
Glenburn Tea Estate, high in the Himalayas is a stone throw away from Darjeeling, West Bengal. The fourth generation Prakash family are the proud and knowledgeable owners and produce some of the finest tea in India. I highly recommend strolling through tea fields and exploring tea factories as a way to understand our rich tradition of tea.
I was inspired by the beautiful Chrysanthemum flowers that grace the verandahs during Delhi winters. In doing research on the flower, I discovered that the Chinese have been brewing Chrysanthemum flowers for centuries for their natural healing qualities such as cleansing the liver and skin, as well as calming the body. Alongside its many healing factors, the Chrysanthemum flower is light on the palate and is a perfect drink in both the winter and summer months.
CHRYSANTHEMUM ICED TEA
Add 1 tablespoon of Chrysanthemum Tea to boiling water and let it brew stronger than normal for 10 minutes before removing the flowers and letting the tea cool.
Start with 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds, crushed in the glass
Add 15ml of lime juice and 20ml of sugar syrup (optional)
Fill the glass with ice
Add 100ml of cold Chrysanthemum Tea
Top with 100ml of soda water
Garnish with mint leaves and whole pomegranate seeds
The Cocktail Twist:
Add 30ml of Bombay Sapphire when adding lime juice and sugar syrup
Garnish with rosemary rather than mint leaves