Heaven for Aromatic Tea
Dhiraj Arora can best be described as a food & beverage connoisseur in pursuit of all things fine. Educated at Cambridge’s The Leys School, he followed his heart and went to Canada to gain a degree in business administration from Acadia University, ignoring the acceptance letter he received from Cambridge University to study chemistry.
Destiny had other plans for Arora. Upon his return to India on a short break, he teamed up with his mother and opened a heritage hotel in Darjeeling called Cochrane Place. Mother and son expanded the six-bedroom home of the erstwhile district magistrate of Kurseong into a 31-room heritage hotel. The hotel has won many accolades along the way, including recognition in the field of tea tourism.
In the midst of all this, Dhiraj met Priti – a hospitality industry professional – who shared his passion for food, wine, and travel. They married soon after. Together they went on to set up two restaurants in Singapore in the trendy Dempsey Hill and Cluny Court neighborhoods – Karma Kettle and Rhapsody. The names reflected their Indian roots, eclectic tastes, and hunger for reviving Anglo-Indian food that was fast losing ground. The restaurants garnered a lot of local interest and were featured in The Straits Times & Business Times
After a successful run of four years in Singapore, Dhiraj and his wife Priti returned to India to take forward their passion for promoting and marketing teas to the Indian and global markets. Dhiraj spent the next few years researching the growing tea industry and pursued two courses in tea. He is a certified tea specialist with the World Tea Academy (USA) and a tea sommelier with the Tea Sommelier Academy in Sri Lanka. In 2013, the duo set up an online tea company Karma Kettle – focusing purely on retailing tea. The venture is inspired by their travels across the globe, with unique blends of teas and tisanes created along the way. They launched ten products with teas from Darjeeling, Nilgiris, and a few green tea blends.
With a special emphasis on creative packaging and ingredients, Karma Kettle has earned a fan following in India. Their first retail outlet opened in April 2017 in Kolkata, earning rave reviews for its unique store design and presentation of teas. Their teas are available in gourmet stores and cafes across the country.
The couple is currently focusing on expanding their tea range and exporting them to foreign shores. The company has a 6,000 square feet production unit in Kolkata with the latest machinery for blending and packaging tea.
Dhiraj works tirelessly with his core production team to source the freshest teas from boutique and small tea gardens – constantly experimenting with various herbs, fruits, and spices. Priti is the creative genius behind the designing and packaging of the brand’s tea blends. Together this dynamic duo brings new flavours and blends that are enjoyed throughout the country.
Growing from the initial ten tea varieties from Darjeeling, Nilgiris, and green tea blends – Karma Kettle now offers 40 different varieties of tea today. These include black tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea blends, green tea blends, Darjeeling teas, and caffeine-free tisanes.
The teas are quite distinct in their taste, flavour, and aroma. The company uses natural ingredients – flowers, herbs, spices, and fruits – to blend their teas. Some blends have up to 10 different ingredients. Each Karma Kettle tea is aromatic and transports you to a heaven of balanced flavour and taste.