The Great Indian Chai Experience - Mithai at Sultan's Battery in Wayanad

Nothing makes you crave chai more than a glimpse of a software company. So when we were in Pune, our friends Sumit and Indu took us to see their office campus. Both of them work in Infosys, Phase II, Pune.Unfortunately we were unable to reach the campus during the visiting hours, so we had to content ourselves with only a distant view from outside. We parked our car in the outside parking area and saw the huge hotel-like structure inside the campus where infosys employees, their family members, and infosys guests can stay in. We also saw the twin egg-shaped glass buildings buildings that are the identifying features of the campus even from a distance. The campus is incredibly huge and houses thousands of employees. However, this being a Saturday, there was hardly anyone around.All this office talk was making us crave the quintessential chai. And it being a software company, there was bound to be a local chai shop around. And sure enough we found a tapri near the Gate No. 1. Apparently, there used to be many more such tapris earlier. Now there is only one on this side of the campus. We had been driving in the hills through the day and all of us were very tired. The thought of a hot cup of chai was so inviting that even Sumit who normally does not drink tea ordered a cup for himself. The chai was kept in a steel container, so it appeared that the chaiwallah had made the chai elsewhere and brought it to the tapri. Besides us, there were three more people on the tapri, who had also ordered chai. We had our cups of chai in our hands within seconds of placing our order. And we eagerly took the first sips. And here is the review:Colour: pale golden-orangeTemperature: hotConsistency: NormalSugar content: Slightly higher than normalStrenth: Slightly towards milky, tea leaves could have been boiledfor a little moreAdditional flavour: high on ginger, with a dash of elaichiOverall rating: 3/5

It was Christmas, January 25 2014. And we were on our way from Delhi to Wayanad. We had had two chai/coffee experiences since the morning. You can read about them here and here. And now we were headed to our homestay in Meenangadi, Wayanad. We were travelling in a local bus, which we had been able to catch with the help of a gentelman, Rajesh, we had met on the plane, who happened to be headed in the same direction as us. So when we got down at Sultan's Battery in Wayanad, from where we were supposed to catch an autorickshaw or a taxi to Meenangadi, he called an autowallah who was known to him to take us to our homestay. We had 10-15 minutes before the autowallah would arrive so he took us to a shop called Mithai at 5-minutes walking distance from the bus stand.

We ordered two cups of chai for Vijay and me and Rajesh ordered a glass of fresh juice. In a few minutes the autowallah too joined us there and Rajesh ordered another chai for him too. He turned out to be Rajesh's cousin. And soon the chai and the juice were delivered.

Following are our observations about the chai:

Serving: Slightly smaller than a teacup.

Temperature: Just hot enough. Not too hot, so as to burn the tongue, and not too cold as well.

Appearance: light orange, slightly too milky

Aroma: Usual aroma of tea, but tea leaves could have been boiled for some more time.

Taste: Average. Nothing too out of ordinary.

Value for money? We don't know, as Rajesh didn't let us pay for our tea. But from our observation of the other items at the restaurant, it would probably have been reasonable.

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