In India, they say there is a story behind every cup of chai, and this holds in the case of the Taiyebis. When Taha’s grandfather, Iqbal Husain, went to Kolkata in the early ’90s, he returned to Hyderabad with souvenirs from the city and a bag of 30 kg of tea.
This was the start of Ispahani Company, a tea supply and distribution business which would years later fuel the idea for Finjaan Cafe in the bustling Banjara Hills of Hyderabad.
A slice of tradition with your chai
When Iqbal returned from Kolkata, he wondered why not start a tea business along with the pharmaceutical venture that the family had been running for a century.
The secrets of chai have run in the family’s veins for generations now. Taha, the grandson and a part of Finjaan Teas, says Finjaan was founded by his father and chacha (uncle) to diversify and enhance the tea business. “While it was established in 2005 in the form of a small tea store in the Towlichoki area where we used to sell and serve Finjaan tea, in 2012 we shifted the store to Banjara Hills Road and in 2021 we transformed this into a luxurious tea lounge.”
The cafe has been a stalwart in the city’s evolving history, attracting Hyderabadis as well as tourists who frequent the city. At the Finjaan Cafe, tea is the hero and the entire experience is nothing short of royal. With more than 50 varieties of exotic brews sourced from Darjeeling, Assam, and China and blended to the finest taste, your tastebuds will be spoilt for choice.
As you enter the cafe, you are invited to be a part of the ‘Tea Ceremony’ at the Chinese Tea Table. Here, every drop of the beverage is savoured and every aroma taken in. Taha says, “We lay great importance on the Tea Ceremony which stems from an old Chinese concept that originated in the 13th century, of greeting the guest and then serving tea on the table.”
Describing the ritual at the cafe, he says there is seating for two at every table and before the ceremony, the guests can choose two or three flavours of teas that they would love to try. “As they then indulge in their conversation, they can sip on beautiful blends of teas, and refill their ceramics from a machine that is placed on the table, that brews and pours tea directly into the cup.”
Unless you are in the city for a few days or weeks, it may not be possible to try all their varieties of teas. Additionally, browsing through the menu may have you confused as to which one you should go ahead and try first.
Taha suggests going for the ‘Jasmine Pearl Tea and ‘Blooming Tea’. “Both the teas have a soothing taste, as when the ingredients are put into the kettle, they ‘bloom’.” He also recommends the ‘Herbal Relief Tea’ for those who are looking to get help with their allergic reactions and getting the body to fight these.
“The signature tea, however,” he says is “the ‘Wonder of Dareeling’ which has an unforgettable colour and taste.” While guests can experience a traditional tea ceremony for Rs 315 per person, a pot of tea here serves two and starts from Rs 125 going up to Rs 295, depending on the variety of tea.
In a day, the family sees an order total of around 20 pots, while their tea ceremonies have a separate fan base. Along with teas the family also has a range of food options and snacks that they offer their guests. A ‘Finjaan’s Classic Chicken Pizza’ could be a great way to top off your experience at this heritage place.
Salman Taiyebi who founded Finjaan Cafe with Taha’s father says serving people tea holds great meaning to them. “It is a staple food and one can get back to work with energy and work for at least three hours after a cup of tea. It rejuvenates and relaxes both at the same time. Everyone tends to have one cup or two or multiple and that’s our business.”
Until you find the opportunity to stop by the Finjaan Cafe in Hyderabad, you can order their teas here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao