On A Fan-tea-stic Trail

Some call this their Elixir of Life. For some, this is their Holy Grail. A Chinese stamp that is loved by the entire world. 

Recently, I got a chance to visit the new outlet of Tea Trails, opened in Anna Nagar, Chennai. This was a place that I longed to go and when I got an opportunity to be their guest, my joy knew no bounds. After what seemed an eternity of searching and cursing the Google Maps, I located the place and walked in, to be welcomed by the Manager of the store.

He started off by explaining that Chai and Tea were two different things. While I have been a fan of the classic cardamom and ginger tea for a long time now, I hadn’t really thought about the difference between the two terms. Apparently, Tea is the version without milk and sugar, while Chai is the more Indianised version that we consume with milk and sugar.

Tea Pairings are more like Wine pairings. Not every food-tea combo is good. Some teas complement a particular kind of food, while some just doesn’t go well together!

I had the fortune to try out a fair share of the menu, along with its respective pairs. Silver Needle- Bun Maska, Kashmiri Kahwa- Burmese Tea Salad, Lapsang Souchong- Smoked Paneer Sandwich, Irani Chai- Onion Pakoras, Red Zen, a few other coolers and food, finally a dessert.

Silver Needle- Bun Maska 

Silver Needle is a variety of white tea. It had a very mild taste and was very light when consumed. It is paired with the classic Bun Maska, which is sugar filled mild bun topped with a dollop of butter. The combination was elegant and light even when had together.


Kashmiri Kahwa- Burmese Tea Salad

Next up was a brew of Green Tea, called as Kashmiri Kahwa. This one is had with almonds, saffron and other Indian Spices that gives it the distinct aroma of Indian Biryani. Pairing this up with a Salad is because of the low-calorie value of both the items, giving the health conscious people the full benefit of the tea. I loved the salad for it was crunchy at places owing to the occasional roasted Split Bengal Gram in it. Surprisingly, the salad also had infused green tea leaves that blended well with the brew I had with me.



The Kashmiri Kahwa in the black cup and a plate of the Burmese Tea Salad, infused with Green Tea leaves


Lapsang Souchong- Smoked Paneer Sandwich

This is a Chinese Smoked variety of Black tea, which takes a little over 3 minutes to brew. The tea has its smoky aroma and aftertaste which is paired with a paneer sandwich. This variety of tea is a tad heavy and is aptly paired with a heavy food item. Well that being said, smoky dishes are not for everyone, so use your discretion while ordering this. I personally loved my smoky black tea.


Irani Chai- Onion Pakoras

Now we enter the Indian Chai domain. The Hyderabadi Special Irani chai was up for tasting and it was sweeeeeet (Yeah! That sweet). Being over-sweet is its trademark. Take sips of hot chai with bits of piping hot Onion Pakoras, that should be ideal for a rainy day.

Did you know?! Irani Chai is made with Condensed milk which is the reason for its extra-sweet taste


This was another brew of hot tea that blew me away. This is technically not a variety of tea, but a tisane. Tisane is herbal extracts that do not form part of the tea family. Red Zen is one such extract of herbs, fruits, and flowers. It has a springy aroma which might remind you of some distant memory of Pot Pourri and may seem feminine for some of you. The taste was brilliant and refreshing, true to its name.



What about people who are not into hot teas but need something to cool their spirits? Fret not, for I also happened to try out some of their varieties of cool beverages.

Lychee Bubble Tea

The Classic tea, strongly flavoured of Litchies, with flavour-filled bubbles popping in my mouth. I would actually prefer to have the chewy variety of bubbles than the poppy ones (You can inform them of your choice when you place the order, actually). Nothing out of the ordinary, I found this too strong to my liking.

Matcha Shake

This Japanese Green tea is blended with cold milk and some butterscotch essence to present a rather heavy drink to the customer. The taste was good, with very slight trace of green tea. A healthy option when compared to the traditional milk shakes.

Better Wife

A rather controversial name, this drink is a mix of herbs, mint, and green tea. It reminded me of the mint lime coolers available in the market and was refreshing. A definite choice to beat the heat.

Veg Ham Bruschetta

I love bruschettas. The ones that were available here was well made with chunks of mushroom and basil leaves on the warm cheese. It was yummy and the taste lingers for quite a while.

Paneer Pizza

Again a heavy choice, which would go well with glasses of coolers, the pizza was generous in its toppings. So much so that I felt the thin crust was not able to handle the weight of all the cheese, sauces and the paneer chunks on its head. Extremely tasty, could have been cooked a little more, since the crust was still white and kinda raw.


Alfredo Penne Pasta

One just can’t have enough pasta. Let’s agree on that for peace to prevail. Well-cooked, amply loaded with black olives, capsicum, zucchini and chunks of tomatoes, the pasta had a distinct taste other than that of cheese. I think it extracted more of the zucchini pieces than what was necessary. The texture and the consistency were good though.



The Alfredo Penne garnished with the usual suspects- The Oregano and Chilli Flakes


Schezwan Vada Pav

A Chinese twist to the desi vada pav, this was more like a potato pattice pav. Very yummy and piping hot, with all the right flavours, I enjoyed this one.



Schezwan Vada Pav


Dessert- Chocolate Waffle with sauce and nuts

Freshly made choco waffles generously topped with Hershey’s chocolate sauce and nuts are enough to make a girl go weak in the knees. I would have still preferred those brownies to waffles.



Choco Waffles with Chocolate sauces and nut toppings


All teas are freshly brewed and can be refilled twice each time you order, making it value for money

Each order of tea comes in a tray of steeping pot, a cup and a saucer with a timer. The card in the tray indicates how much time the brew must be steeped for and lets you handle it from there. If you need a stronger brew, feel free to dabble with the timing accordingly.


The food is on the higher side of pricing. It sure is tasty and is suitable for those once-in-a-while cravings or splurging. Who doesn’t like that occasional pampering right?

The ambiance is great and so is the decor, which makes the outing picture-worthy. The people in there are cordial and warm, serving us with a smile.


The parking space is sufficient for two-wheelers and cars can be parked on the side of the road since this store is located at the fag end of an underused road.

My Picks- Kashmiri Kahwa with the Burmese Tea Salad, and a serving of the Red Zen

I had a great time and would recommend you to take yourself on a date to Tea Trails and experience it yourself.


*This is a sponsored post, although the feedback is honest*


Let’s Go Frsh!

How difficult is it to get quality, fresh and piping hot food and affordable prices while on the move? Tough to imagine isn’t it? No worries. We have Frshly to make things possible for us.


Nested away beyond the city limits of Chennai, Frshly is a venture which is known for its unique concept of Food Vending Kiosks. Providing quality, fresh, hygienic and hot food to its customers has been its USP since inception.

Well known in the railway circuit, this company has been working towards making good food accessible to the working class and for those on the move. It is evident from their presence in the railway stations, airports and IT parks across the city.

For people who have no idea of what I am talking about, here is the deal.

  • Go to a Frshly Food vending machine installed nearby.
  • Choose your option from their generous spread from renowned eateries.
  • input your order and choose your preferred method to pay, from their touchscreen installed at the kiosk.
  • Make the payment.
  • Prepare to enjoy hot and fresh food within 90 seconds from punching the order.

“It all began in 2013. The problem that I wanted to solve was the lack of accessibility to quality food for the people in transit” , says the CEO Mr. Satish ChamiVelumani.

He also adds that Frshly helps the organisations avoid the heavy initial capital outlay in the form of buildings, furniture, interiors and staffing. All the space that the kiosk requires is about the size of a small booth.

I happened to get a chance to visit their office and check out the real deal all by myself and I was impressed. The office was cozy and gave a warm feeling.

The kiosk that I had a chance to see was the one at SP Infocity, MGR Salai, kandanchavadi, Chennai. It was a fully automated process from placing the order to taking the food out to eat. No touching squishy squashy business out there! It was slick!!

They also have an app which can be used to reserve your food from your work-desk and then picking it up when you finally reach the food court. It is fully at your convenience. No strings attached.

The food is packed extremely well and the particulars, including the time of packing and the centre for which it is packed is mentioned in the packet, easy for the consumer to identify and be aware of.

“Any food packet that is loaded is not older than six hours from the time of packing. A minute beyond the designated six hours, the food will be trashed and not sold” says the Head of Marketing and Brand Management Ms.Dhivya. 

So essentially it is just like our good old Dabba food that we pack from home.

The machine, that does all the work- from identifying the order, to microwaving the food and finally delivering it at the counter, is fully automated and is the brainchild of the CEO.

Behind the success of the venture is a young and upbeat team that is working tirelessly. The team ensures that the technology behind this idea is up-to-date and the quality of the food served is world class.

“We are in the process of tying up with more restaurants and kitchens for food and we have also had many prominent ones approaching us for tie-ups. We, at present have outlets like Anjappar, Madrasi Biryani, Delhi Highway etc collaborating with us in providing quality food”

Frshly has been on a major growth mode and has also presented the concept during the Rail Vikas Shivir, organised by the Union Government , in the presence of our Prime Minister. They are also in talks with IRCTC to secure licenses to operate the kiosks in the Railway stations across the country.

Frshly is now on a scale of expansion and is hoping to begin its Singapore operations in March 2017, with the help of the Government of Singapore.

This could be a revolutionary idea in the area of food technology and who knows, this could even solve some of the major problems that the industry is facing these days!