With its menu brimming with fresh and creative varieties of tea, The Tea Story is a cozily-designed space at Guwahati to take a breather from the everyday stresses of life; devouring damn fine food and tea whilst you’re at it.
We speak with the bistro’s young and enthusiastic 27-year-old owner, Deba Pratim Das on how to open a viable tea business in the land of tea estates.
Why did you decide to launch a tea bistro?
I’m Deba Pratim Das and owner of a tea bistro called The Tea Story in Guwahati. I completed my graduation in Hospitality Management from Edinburgh Napier University. I then joined the Marriott Groups of Hotels and Resorts in USA as a F&B Supervisor and worked with them for two years.
Coming from the land of tea estates, I have always wanted to learn more and explore the field of tea growing. But I never really got around to carve a path to follow. When I returned to India for pursuing an MBA degree in Hospitality, I had an epiphany and decided to stay back in my hometown to open a tea bistro on my own. That’s how the idea and the journey of The Tea Story began. I also worked with a Japanese travel company called JTB a few years ago. I traveled extensively throughout South East Asia during that time and it exposed me to other cultures that appreciated tea as a beverage.
What did you base the theme of The Tea Story on?
Although Guwahati is the capital of a state known for its tea estates, the city hardly houses a tea bistro that connects with its youth population.
“In my mind, an ideal tea bistro attracts younger crowd while still remaining appealing to the older generation.”
That’s the reason why we chose a 127-year-old house that belonged to Late Satya Prasad Barua to house our new venture. Mr. Barua is a renowned name in the world of Assamese Drama.
The place holds a special place in the locals’ heart too. Everybody who comes here for a cup of tea has a story to tell us connecting them to the house, especially the older generation.
Does being an entrepreneur come naturally to you?
Never thought about it actually. If not an entrepreneur, I’m sure I’d be a wine sommelier. As I use to do food and wine pairing for the restaurant menus back in USA. I am a very big wine enthusiast. The only thing that interests me apart from tea is wine.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced while launching your own business?
That would be hiring. Getting the right person for the right job is an aspect of the business that most entrepreneurs struggle with. But I’m learning every day as each challenge teaches me something new. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What does The Tea Story offer its customers?
The Tea Story is a quiet little tea bistro with a wide variety and eclectic assortment of tea selection that’s finely tuned to the tastes of the modern tea drinker. It houses more than fifty different types of tea, both hot and cold. We also have a small food menu which changes every two months.
We take a lot of pride in our aromatic tea collection. We sell tea as a beverage along with some fantastic baked goods from Cake Cottage by Ruhi Borooah.
The average cost spent for two people at The Tea Story (inclusive of food) is INR 450. Our Aromatic Tea Selection is in great demand. The Black Manipuri Tea is an all-time hit.
How can interested buyers sample The Tea Story’s exclusive collection?
Our tea is available only at our bistro at Guwahati currently. But, we plan to start packaging our bestselling products by February 2018.
If you’re a tea lover at Guwahati or are visiting the beautiful city, do check The Tea Story at: House no. 61, Hemchandra Road, Uzan Bazar, Guwahati 781001.
You can also find out more about the bistro timings and the day’s special by following them on Facebook and Instagram
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