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Eat: Photoessay

By Stacy Yu
With a loyal fan base who keep coming back, sometimes across oceans, this tea shop in Delhi’s Sunder Nagar Market has a collection of fine tea of as well as passionate people.

If you are a tea lover or just happen to be in need of some exotic spices this is the place to come and be enriched not just with what you buy but also in the company of its staff.

Mittal Teas Image

Even though jewelry, antiques and furniture shops line most of the Sunder Nagar Market in Delhi, ask anyone and everyone here seems to know the 60 year-old tea store that is Mittal Teas.

Mittal Teas Image

A wooden shelf with mottled white paint, iron tea buckets with some rust and the small space with boxes of spices, teas, dried fruits and tea-wares stand witness to the years of Mittal Teas.

Mittal Teas Image

Customers who come here have their own stories of this one of a kind place. Have a perfectly brewed tea and start a chat with anyone in the store. You might be forgiven if you think many people come here just to see old friends.

Mittal Teas Image

“When a customer comes, I am not in a hurry to take money from them,” Vikram Mittal, the owner says, before setting off to make some Autumn Darjeeling Tea for people who walked in.

Mittal Teas Image

“This Darjeeling tea will only be in the market five days later; this is only a sample,” he says, sharing shared the pot of tea with everyone in the store generously. “Good tea!” He smiles.

Mittal Teas Image

Yuri, who has come today with her daughter, has been buying teas and spices from Mittal Teas for 25 years. “People are good here and teas are good. We come once or twice a year from Tokyo and every time we buy around a 100 packs.”

Mittal Teas Image

Anasuya, A top official at a five star hotel in Delhi says she only buys teas from Vikram. “He shares the tea information and experience which others don’t do, he gives suggestions after knowing what I like and what I don’t like,” she says.

Mittal Teas Image

I come here even when I am extremely busy and just look at the way Mr Mittal makes his tea. Every time I come here I feel I become a smarter tea brewer and I then share that spirit with my guests,” Anasuya says.

Mittal Teas Image

“I am his younger brother! I always say that but I am just kidding!” says Pradeep Goel, who runs his business four stores away. “I come at least two times a day!” he says, describing Mittal Teas as the place to unwind.

Mittal Teas Image

The set of hourglasses in this shop keep track of brewing times teas different teas and also keep an eye on the years and people passing through Mittal Teas. Chances are, if you visit this place once, it’s the warmth of the people here that will call you to visit again.





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