BREW MASTER | SNIGDHA MANCHANDA BINJOLA, TEA
In school, her friends called her “the girl with strange water” because her mother would flavour her water with herbs and condiments to keep her healthy. Thus started Binjola’s love affair with tea, and from a very young age, she started collecting different varieties of it by requesting friends and relatives who travelled across the world to bring her as many choices as possible. Once she graduated from NMIMS in Mumbai, Binjola took up a comfortable job as a communications professional. But after a few years, she took a sabbatical to study at the Tea Sommelier Academy in Sri Lanka and hasn't looked back since. Her company, Tea Trunk, creates interesting blends such as Strawberry- Peppercorn and Long Island Tea (non-alcoholic), and sells them online and at various boutiques across the city. The 29-year-old also organises “chai walks”, in which tea lovers come together and walk through South Mumbai, sipping on various kinds of tea at iconic tea venues. All the while, she imparts information on said beverage and the experiences she has gathered over the years. Working in a largely male-dominated field, Binjola has faced several problems because of her gender. “I’ve never met any female tea tasters in big companies. When I go to tea estates to pick up teas, my knowledge is always put to test. I have to earn my credibility each time,” Binjola says. Undeterred, she plans to open India’s first organised tea school in Darjeeling by the end of this year.