Ever since her childhood, Tea Trunk founder Snigdha Manchanda was so fond of tea that she used to collect different tea varieties that were brought in by friends and relatives from all parts of the world and store them in her father's old trunk. While she initially opted for a career as a media and communications professional, she decided to study tea professionally during one of her sabbaticals. She undertook her training under the well-known tea master Nao Kumekawa from Japan.
Snigdha describes the entire experience, which included staying in the plantations and experiencing the tea production process first hand, tasting 100 cups of tea a day, and profiling over 2,000 varieties of tea; as life changing. It inspired her to commence her own tea venture where she started by organising tea tasting and tea appreciation workshops to enlighten more and more people on the joys of different types of tea and also on the health benefits of this centuries-old beverage. During her workshops, she talks about various aspects of tea tasting from the point of view of taste notes, nuances, flavour profiles; why Assam is the more malty, strong and bold cup; why Darjeeling is the more and aromatic and delicate tea and why Nilgiri has a different earthy flavour to it. In addition, she is also engaged in other interesting initiatives like tea parties, styling tea events, food and tea pairing, guided tea tastings and Chai Walk. She named her venture Tea Trunk in memory of her childhood passion.
Over time, Snigdha has also entered into tea retailing and her tea trunk today presents an impressive array of exotic and intuitively conceptualised flavoured teas. She has a Marigold tea, for instance, which recognises the health benefits of the flower that is commonly associated with celebrations. Long Island tea brings back memories of a relaxing summer holiday with flavours of mint and orange peel. Saffron kahwa is an interesting twist to the Kashmiri kahwa with infusions of saffron strands, cinnamon bark, cloves, ginger, cardamom pods, rose petals and sweet almonds. They also have a Chilli chai, which combines the cherished masala tea with Indian spices and subtle notes of red chilli flakes.
Just as Snigdha is a strong believer in introducing interesting and fun twists in her teas, she is equally passionate about promoting and celebrating teas from India. She has personally undertaken visits to tea gardens across the country and selected those that provide the best quality organic teas. From her experience, Snigdha is quite appreciative of the manner in which a number of Indian tea planters are adopting eco-friendly practices in their plantations. Even the infusions come from India, be it the rose petals from Kashmir or the vanilla from Kerala.
From the beginning, she consciously decided to take the online route and take her tea varieties global. The strategy has paid off, as Tea Trunk now ships directly to twelve countries including US, Canada, Singapore, Dubai and Russia.
The real mantra, as Snigdha asserts, is the manner in which they do the blending, where they keep in mind the health benefits, the cultural preparation and the seasonal profile. More importantly, her passion for the beverage - right from the farm to the cup - has ensured a firm foundation for Tea Trunk; which is one of the vibrant and dynamic entrepreneurial ventures from India that promise to redefine our entire outlook to tea as a beverage for taste and health. In fact, she also has a long term vision to set up a global hub for learning on tea in India.