Afternoon tea is one of my favourite things to do at the weekend so I cannot believe this is my first of the year! Chaiholics opened in September of last year and is owner-operated meaning that it is well suited to it’s Wellfield Road location which is full of independent businesses. I’ve been to Chaiholics a few times and have been meaning to try their afternoon tea for a while.
On my other visits I have only tried their chai but, as their afternoon tea comes with a pot of their organic or single origin teas between two, I opted for their Green Nilgiri tea. It is one of their organic teas which are described as ‘exceptional, fresh, hand-harvested tea[s which] are the purest and most natural tea from India’s most remarkable gardens.’ I went for this tea as I have only tried Nilgiri as a black tea before.
Although the tea is loose leaf, the teapot in which it is brewed means that the leaves cannot be removed. This means that you cannot brew it for a specific time and then take the leaves out as I would do normally. Also, when the tea was bought over to us we were not told how long it had been brewing for and, as this is a tea I’m not familiar with, I could not tell by the colour. This meant that I poured it rather quickly to ensure it did not over-steep and turn bitter. I found the tea rather delicate and this could be because I poured it too early but I do remember finding Nilgiri black tea rather bland. The tea was brewed hotter than I usually brew a green tea but there was no trace of any bitterness.
The afternoon tea was enjoyable. It came with some finger sandwiches and it was nice to have the ‘Chai Bites’ as part of the afternoon tea. The ‘Chai Bites’ are a selection of vegetarian Indian snacks with my favourite being the samosas with the tamarind dip. The scones were infused with tea and were delicious served with a good quality jam and lots of clotted cream. I also enjoyed the other pastries and sweets and I thought the mini Welsh cakes were a nice touch. There was a good amount of food each and the sweet foods outweigh the savoury. My only qualm would be that there is not an equal amount of every item meaning that the afternoon tea cannot be shared out fairly. This meant that disappointingly I did not get to try a mini fruit tart as I opted for a heart-shaped macaron instead.
I could not come to Chaiholics and not have a cup of chai so when I went for the Aromatic Cardamom Chai after finishing the afternoon tea. It can be prepared with either honey or sugar but I always opt for sugar. I like my chai quite sweet (how it is traditionally made) so I added some more afterwards. The cardamom flavour came through really strongly and the tea to milk ratio was good. I also finished off my friend’s Indian Railway Chai. I have tried this chai before but found the black pepper too much as it is not something I normally like to add to my chai at home. This time though, as I was expecting the peppery kick, and so I enjoyed it with the other mix of spices and a bit of added sugar. Out of the two I prefer the Aromatic Cardamom Chai. If you are not sure which chai to try the Chaiwallahs are really helpful and you can smell the dry teas to help you decide.
I have been looking at the Iced Rose Tea on the menu every time I visit and this time I decided to go all out and try it after my chai. It was fantastic! It was lovely and creamy with just the right amount of rose. It was not sweet or heavy at all despite all the food and tea I had already managed. I would definitely recommend it!
Chaiholics has a very welcoming atmosphere with very polite staff and the decor is well thought out. I was really impressed when one of the Chaiwallahs recognised us. She had only seen us on one previous visit and remembered what chais we had tried and that we took it with sugar! Just before leaving, we were given 2 for 1 vouchers for chai on our next visit which was nice. In my opinion you visit Chaiholics for the chai rather than the other teas… it’s in the name! Despite that, I would highly recommend the Iced Rose Tea too.
I paid for the afternoon tea via Groupon, it was £26 for a group of four but, as it was my first Groupon purchase, I was given a £10 discount meaning that it ended up only costing £4 per person! A complete and utter bargain! Chaiholics afternoon tea deals have appeared on Living Social before too. Although it states £15 per person on their website they have been offering deals when purchasing direct from them as well. Booking must be done at least one day in advance.
Lastly, here is some Indian Railway Chai and a better photo of the Chai Bites from a previous visit.
[Nobody at Chaiholics was aware that I was going to write a blog post about my visit]