Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Ashmit Patel always had a burning passion for luxury products that are deep-rooted in culture and come with a minimalistic design. It was not long before he realized that individuals in India had little understanding, knowledge, or appreciation for the range of fine teas available within the country. With his startup, Ahista Tea, Ashmit strives to change the perception of Indian made products.
“I believe that what we crave these days are real connections: to someone else or even to ourselves. Having a cup of tea is a way to connect with tradition, your personal ritual, and brings communities together from all over the world.”
Culturally-inspired blends of Ahista
Talking about his startup, Ashmit told TimesNext that his venture, Ahista Tea, is a luxury tea brand that specializes in single-batch progressive teas, culturally-inspired blends, and contemporary ceramics. Ahista compiles a collection of bespoke blends and experimental teas each year from India and regions that are historically influenced by Indian culture. The company aims to elevate tea experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury boutique hotels, and cafés around the world.
“‘Ahista’ means ‘slowly’ or ‘at a slow pace’ – this brings to mind the art of slow living: taking a step back and savoring each moment with thoughtfulness and intention. We take a minimalist approach when infusing tradition and innovation into our teas and tea-related products, which are handmade, timeless, minimal, and sustainable,”
says Ashmit, the founder of Ahista Tea.
Providing premium quality teas
India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world, where low graded teas are still the preferred choice, and grade 1 teas are still exported at large. Not until recently, when buyers are more open towards paying a premium price for a commodity like tea.
Ahista works with small artisan families in places where hard to associate tea being cultivated in, like Manipur, Bihar, Mandi, etc. The regions grow some of the finest teas in the world, and Ashmit considered it his duty to give them access to higher markets.
Being raised abroad, Ashmit found it very challenging to be able to understand and adjust to the Indian surroundings for his business. The food startup has collaborated and partnered with Save The Children India, an organization that helps improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, and environmental conservation organizations like World Wildlife Asia, an organization that raises awareness about declining numbers in animal species.
Startup’s growth & vision
Ahista claims its first achievement was to be the first homegrown Indian brand to partner with a Michelin star restaurant & share their tea collection at Tamarind of Mayfair in London.
The company plans to continue growing its wholesale partnerships within India and North America with people sharing its vision and commitment of quality craftsmanship, innovation, and exploring the diversity and limitless possibilities of tea.
Ahista has seen considerable growth in online sales within the US market, with over 15,000 cups of teas sold in the past three months. The company already has top hospitality, dining & retail partners like Alchemy Dubai, Bombay Canteen, Cafe Katsune Paris, Fabcafe by Fab India, New Art Exchange, Rambagh Palace, Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa, Tamarind of Mayfair, Trinity, and Waldorf Astoria Dubai.