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Slipping in to Night at ?aj Chai

Mighty Travels

Two tea lovers make their way around Europe with their Mighty Leaf

Slipping in to Night at ?aj Chai May 31, 2007

In the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, you can wind around for hours and constantly be amazed at the little stores, bars, and restaurants that will appear in front of you each time you round a corner. To say that it's enchanting is a massive understatement.

We quickly found that after the better part of the day doing this, the sun was quickly setting. We remembered that an hour or two previous we passed a small tea shop that looked inviting in one of the narrow alleys in the old Jewish Quarter. Retracing our steps and making several enjoyable wrong turns in to other great streets that nearly derailed our tea destination, we found our way back to ?aj Chai.

Any tea drinker will realize that this is a rather funny name, because it literally means "tea" (in the Slavic spelling) "tea" (in the Indian spelling). But cute name aside, it was a lovely spot, scattered with tables that seemed set about the space with a casual ease and mismatched chairs that all begged to be sat upon. The smell of steeping and tinned teas slipped from every corner of this spot as couples, groups, and the lone writer scribbling in a Moleskine journal lounged about.

We sat in the beckoning chairs and ordered a Darjeeling and Sikkim from their extensive list of teas. They were served properly steeped and oozing luscious aromas. While technically different teas from different states in India, the two teas were very similar from one another, probably owing to the fact that they come from areas neighboring each other in the Himalayas. The Sikkim tea was lighter and had a softer nose, while the Darjeeling was a deeper, more luxurious blend that begged to be sipped.

Outside, we watched the sun pass down behind the buildings on the other side of the alley as people parked their bicycles for the evening in a small square outside the door. The ever-darkening evening was creeping up on us as we tossed back our final drops of tea and went off in search of dinner.

Where: Gothic Quarter, Barcelona, Spain
Tea: Darjeeling Choice Estate