Nathmull's Tea Outlet at Chowrasta (Mall), Darjeeling
If you are planning to buy tea in Darjeeling, Nathmull's would be one of the best choices. Run by the Sarda family since 1931, they are the oldest and the largest tea merchants here specializing in Darjeeling Tea.
They source over 50 varieties of tea both from tea auction as well as directly from many tea estates in Darjeeling. In fact, Nathmulls sources from more than 40% tea gardens of Darjeeling.
Their original Nathmull's store is located at Laden-La road opposite to the State Bank of India building. This is where they stock maximum varieties of tea from gardens across Darjeeling including blended tea. This store is manned by Girish Sarda, one of the family owners.
However, the outlet that I am going to cover here is located at the Chowrasta Mall. It is now located at one corner of the mall and right next to Tibet Art curio store.
This tea outlet originally opened in 2009 when it was located in the adjacent building... those days it had a Sunset Lounge which was a Tea Lounge combined with a tea outlet where you could drink Darjeeling tea. The tea lounge was so named because of the lovely sunset view it offered over the valley.
My cup of Tea at original Nathmull's Sunset Lounge
The Sunset Lounge once served Regular Black Tea or a small pot for two cups. Other choices included Nathmulls Limited Edition Tea, Ice Tea, Darjeeling Green Tea of different grades, Darjeeling White Tea, Herbal Tea (with flavors like mint, basil & spicy), Hot Lemon Tea, and the rare variety of Nathmulls Yellow Tea.
However, they had to leave that earlier space and move to a new space, with that was gone the Sunset Lounge. So, if you still want to enjoy a cup of fresh Darjeeling with some delicious snacks right on Chowrasta Mall, walk over to Golden Tips Teattoria
, which is a fabulous open air tea lounge with lovely views of the mountains, and located on the opposite side of the mall and right next to the Mall Police Outpost.
From the road level, the entry to the present Nathmull's is to a narrow corridor. At the end of the corridor and to the right is the tea store. As you enter the store there are counters with showcases on both sides. Wall glass cabinets are stacked with Darjeeling tea packs of different varieties and tea accessories.
Nathmulls Tea Store, Chowrasta Darjeeling
On top of the counter, there are several varieties of loose tea kept in glass containers so that you can smell the flavor and order as per choice. A pack of pure Darjeeling tea can serve as a great souvenir to your friends and relatives back home.
Nathmulls also sells tea accessories that are on display. There are varieties of tea pots and cups both in metallic and ceramics, as well as strainers and Tea Cozies. Some are real exquisite, designed with intricate work and can be part of a great collection.
Bhuvan Sarda, an young enterprising man and part of the family owning the business, presently runs this Nathmulls outlet. He is usually available at the store. He has excellent knowledge about tea from various gardens of Darjeeling and their grades.
Bhuvan at Nathmull's, Chowrasta Darjeeling
He recommended that among the second flush with muscatel flavors (my favorite), Darjeeling tea from the gardens like Maribong, Arya, Poobong and Gidda Pahar are some of the best.
Although they do not have a tea tasting/sampling facility at this store, they have a small kitchenette, and he offered me to join him in one of the afternoons when they make tea, and I could try out a few teas of my choice.
They keep varieties of teas at this store including black, white, green, Oolong and others. The store is not quite well organized, you can see even sacks full of tea lying all over.
Once in 2013, during a chat, Sailesh Sarda, a senior member of the Sarda family who then manned the counter here, mentioned that they kept Darjeeling tea here that ranged from Rs. 350/- per kg for Regular Black to Rs. 30,000/- per kg for green and white teas.
Stunned for a while, I asked him who would take tea for Rs. 30,000 a kg? Sailesh replied "The proper tea-totaler, who knows about it. Actually such high value tea like the white tea have a lot of snob value". He also clarified that the white is the highest grade tea having more anti oxidant than the green tea.
Location & Contacts
Nathmulls Chowrasta Outlet is located at the Chowrasta Mall and on the same line as Oxford Book Store, Golden Tips, Amigos etc and next to Tibet Art (an art & craft store).
The main Nathmull's store is located on Laden La Road.
Address of Laden-La road main store:
Suite: 21, Chachan Mansions, Laden La Road
Darjeeling - 734 101, India
Mobile (Mr. Girish Sarda): +91 94340-46335
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