This extra-special Japanese sencha combines the freshness of the first harvest with the depth of flavour of the old seeds from the bush variety Yabukita. Grown exclusively in the Kumamoto prefecture in Southern Japan, this tea has only come to grace our shelves for a limited time period. The finest leaves and leaf buds were harvested in mid April, a whole week before the true first flush — one might say you can’t get any closer to tasting the tea tree as it comes. This is directly reflected in the vivid hue of the leaves — it’s our greenest one yet!
On the palate, this tea has all the vegetal seaweedy richness of sencha combined with an almost caramely roundedness which brings to mind an almost whisky-level depth of flavour. The staff verdict on this one is: very aromatic and satisfyingly full-bodied. We don’t imagine we’ll have it for very long so best come down to the shop, try it and tell us what you think it’s like!
While the hot summer days are still with us, why not come down and taste our newest creation?
Delicious, vegan, kulfi-inspired Yogi Chai Ice Cream!!!
Chai Ice Cream
Prepared using our favourite blend of spices with a pinch of saffron, ground almond and lashings of coconut cream, it’s available for £2.80 a portion.
We hope you enjoy it!
We’re opening our new series of tea musings with this superior chai that has once upon a time graced the Afghan court. Traditionally served only to royalty, our Zanjafeel recipe comes from the very heart of the trade route that changed the culinary world. In its heyday, the spice trade was the world’s biggest industry. It built and destroyed empires, drew people towards new continents and tipped the world power balance – and all this in pursuit of a more satisfying dinner. For all we know, the Renaissance may have been very much taste bud-driven.
Myths of the Trade
Between 1500 and 1700, merchants travelled thousands of miles to the spice-rich Orient. The journey was initially conducted by camel caravans and a single trip could sometimes take years. When products such as ginger and pepper first appeared on the European markets, they were instantly catapulted to luxury status. The spice traders made up stories in order to create a sense of mystery around their wares. They spoke of battles with ancient gods and birds of prey guarding the spice on top of high cliffs. Soon the value of spice went through the roof. Dock workers in London were paid their bonuses in cloves. Nutmeg was worth seven fattened oxen. What is now an ordinary kitchen staple has once surpassed even gold in value.
Zanjafeel: straight from the Afghan mountains
Shared with us by a friend, our authentic Zanjafeel has been praised by musicians visiting from Afghanistan itself. Although our recipe does not include cloves or nutmeg, the decadent touch lies in the use of fine Spanish saffron. This is a tea that turns the very idea of tchai on its head – the recipe uses green tea rather than black and does not contain any milk. Although Zanjafeel has all the roundedness usually associated with tchai, the depth of flavour comes from the spice itself. The order of the ingredients and the preparation method are also important. Usually a vibrant yellow colour, a cup of Zanjafeel houses a fine mist that arises from the amalgamation of different spices. Tangy lemons, plenty of warming ginger and aromatic cardamom make this an ideal tea to spice up a rainy day.
We are really excited about this tea – this is a high grade organic Japanese green leaf tea blended with Matcha produced on the southern most island of Japan by true tea aficionado’s, the Hayashi’s. Harvested in May 2016 this tea has the depth, complexity and freshness of a fresh Sencha and the intensity and zing of Matcha. This is being launched this weekend at BBC Good Food Show.
The Chai Family is a new range of teas which include some of the favourites at Tchai-Ovna: Yogi Yogi, Desi Chai, Bombay Lemongrass Chai, Chai Nanna and Honey Spiced Tea. Take some home with you and get to know it!
Come down to hear this great trio of jazzateers create improvisational magic their musical wands. They will be doing their own individual interpretations of jazz standards, with a few groovy things thrown in. Featuring the lyrical Crawford McCallum on guitar, the acrobat of the double bass Jay Kilbride and Chris “cooking” Whitehouse on drums.
8-10pm. £2 recommended donation.
This is the first of a series of tea talks and workshops which aim to explore the world of tea. Who would have thought that there is so much to know about a drink that is in everybody’s kitchen cupboard; the history, the culture of the people who make it, and all the weird and wonderful varieties?
On 20th July we will be exploring black tea – the most commonly drunk tea in the world. It will involve tasting some of Tchai-Ovna’s range of black teas, interspersed with biscuits and snacks. Co-Owner Martin Fell will share his knowledge built up through over 16 years working in the tea world as well various trip to India, in order to give you a flavour of what black tea really is, it’s history, how to make it and how to discern true quality. All are welcome, from interested beginners to tea officionado’s.
8-9.30pm tickets £8/£5 concessions – (including tasting teas, snacks and some packets to take away).
So this is the deal, if you can make it to the Tchai-Ovna between 12 and 2pm on a week day you can take advantage of our soup and a sandwich lunch offer. Buy one of James’s delicious soups and get a free sandwich – £4.80 all in. What better way to spend your lunch break?!
The Otago Lane community’s battle with developer Hugh Scott and the council was perhaps the most well known planning dispute in recent urban planning history. Thanks to the help from the community’s friends and our furry otter neighbours that were discovered last minute inhabiting the river bank, the developer will find it difficult and very costly to build. However all had not ended in Summer 2013 when the restrictive conditions for permission were finally issued. Mr. Scott continued to frequent the lane harassing customers and residents alike. As he had lost potentially millions of £ he was particularly furious with Tchai-Ovna. We had managed to harness and focus community support which forced the council to listen. This bad relationship culminated in the developer bringing the Tchai-Ovna to court over the use of the outside area, the veranda. Despite the veranda being in existence long before our tenure at the premises we were bizarrely banned from accessing our own premises. This loss of the veranda and indeed £1000’s in legal expenses (thanks to those who helped us through the crowd fund) threatened to close us. Luckily the Otago Lane community knew of a secret passage which we were able to re-open and refurbish, which then became our new entrance.
Soon, however, we realised there was another trick up Mr. Scott’s sleeve. He made an offer to our landlady to purchase the tea house premises for double the valuation, an offer that she could not refuse. We realised that we had to either purchase the premises for even higher than Scott’s offer, or close down. Having him as our landlord was not an option and we had no time or money left to relocate. We borrowed and scraped and managed to out bid him in the nick of time. So now, albeit something we didn’t want, we are the owners of the Tchai-Ovna premises.
For the rest of last summer we continued to put seating in the car park until Scott threatened legal action again. This would have been the last straw so now we have no outside area at all that customers can use, though the veranda is still there and probably won’t be used or taken down as a painful reminder of recent events, yet also of happy times.
Now the summer is promising to be glorious. Glasgow has been really lucky with the weather! But with no outside area it is proving very challenging for the Tchai-Ovna. We are now doing take away options, ice tea and some lovely unique teas we haven’t had before; adaptations that we think might make us compatible with people rightfully enjoying the sunshine. Please if you have time and/or want some shade in a cool cavernous old stables come and help us through this summer. We are sure things will get better with your help, and soon we will be on the sunny side of the street again.
All the best