Dolly’s Tea Shop is a tiny tea room tucked away in one corner of Dakshinapan, Kolkata. Although, neither the prettiest nor the most impressive eatery in town, it still has a distinct charm of its own that got me hooked nearly two decades ago. Decorated with wooden tea chests, paper lanterns, and cane chairs, this place is suspended in time, engulfed in the aroma of Darjeeling tea and clouds of cigarette smoke–a smell reminiscent of Bengali friendships. There’s something extremely Bengali about this place. The way in which the tiny floor space and awkward furniture arrangement force strangers to sit uncomfortably close to each other and partake in careless chitchat, or the nonchalance with which they shoo away their customers as soon as the clock hits 7 or whenever they feel like going home, can only happen in Kolkata. Where else would you find people put nap time, or adda above business? Nowhere. In my mind, this careless nature of Dolly’s tea shop is exactly how friendships should be–carefree and unkempt yet timeless and flourishing.
I dedicate this post to all my friends who have gossiped with me over tea at Dolly’s or elsewhere. <3
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup orange squash
- 2 tsp tea leaves
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 springs of mint leaves
- Lots of ice to serve
- Bring orange zest, sugar, and ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool; cover and chill for 2 hours. Strain syrup into a small jar or bowl.
- In a separate pan bring the remaining water to a boil, add tea leaves and turn off heat. Strain tea into a a large bowl and let cool completely.
- Add syrup and orange squash to the tea and stir.
- Serve over lots of ice.
- Garnish with mint springs.
- Add Bourbon to turn this into an awesome cocktail.