It was a refreshing delight blended with ethnic touch in every nook and corner at an exceptional place by the side of the highway that passes through Samuguri in Nagaon district of Assam. I strongly felt the need of a cup of tea as I was driving to Kaziranga National Park from Guwahati with my family. I was looking for a tea stall on the roadside only to find a restaurant with an uncommon name “Kuhi Tea Bar”.
“Welcome to our tea bar, madam. Please have your seat. What kind of tea would you like to have?” A smart mehkela-chadar clad elegant lady asked me as she approached towards us wearing a warm smile across her face. It was Renu Mahanta—the lady who runs the tea bar cum restaurant.
A complementary plate of snacks containing ladoos, pitha is served with a cup of tea at a very reasonable price here. Renu is a courageous upcoming entrepreneur who has also won several accolades as recognition to her endeavor. Her tea bar serves about 50 varieties of tea including milk tea, black tea, masala tea, white tea, green tea, blue tea while at the same time she has provided livelihood to about 30 women in her business.
Of late, under the Covid-19 situation, they have started preparing a special “covid protective tea” which is made from ingredients like turmeric, cardamom, clove, black pepper, tea leaves etc. They use honey instead of sugar in this variety of tea.
Certainly an uncommon restaurant, Kuhi Tea bar is located just 500 meters away from the Basic Training Centre of Nagaon in Bheleuguri, Hemorbori. The restaurant has recently been the centre of attraction for many tourists. Speaking to this writer, Renu Mahanta said, “I started my business in 2011 with a food processing unit. Before that, I sold homemade koraiguri, komal rice, etc. apart from more than 25 types of pickles prepared by myself. I also prepare jam, jelly, kolakhar, powder of curry leaves and some other leaves having medicinal quality for sale.” Ms Mahanta also started a bakery where she produced a range of biscuits and bread. Now, all her processed foods are marketed in different parts of Assam with the brand name Kuhi.
With success in her business, it was high time to have a permanent outlet from where Renu can sale and supply her products. This necessity led to opening of Kuhi Tea Bar in August 2019. Renu Mahanta’s Kuhi food processing received Best MSME 5000 Award in 2018.
“The traditional Assamese foods have many health benefits and therefore customers’ attraction for this is high. I hope apart from the people of Assam, tourists from different parts of the country and abroad too need to know or experience the benefits of Assamese food”, said Ms Mahanta. Indeed, such restaurants are also needed in different parts of the State.