It’s a very basic funda turned onto wheels. Think of a Barista on a cart, only better and do take note that the similarity stops right there! Unlike the coffee chains of the city, this Chai Thela is a standalone brainchild of the man behind the cart, Jiten Suchede, delivered after 15+ years of passionate labour of love. Interestingly the story behind the innovative name has two interpretation: One, of course, is very self-explanatory, i.e. Jugmug, shining like Jugnus (firefly); and the other, and more innovatively so, is combining of two words Jug and Mug signifying two sizes the beverages are served under: Large Jug (350 ml) and small Mug (150 ml).
The Thela is an extension of Jiten’s kitchen. The open cart, made of wooden planks on wheels, has a compact burner, a couple of gadgets, 3-4 labelled jars storing cookies for sale, and a little working area.
The menu is pretty basic but, behind the scenes, a lot of painstaking effort goes into procuring the best ingredients from the sources itself. Above all, it’s the passion and love for what is poured into the Jug and Mug in the end which is what excites and propels Jiten to go to extreme lengths to give the best.
Salads, cookies, cakes are staple offerings on the Thela however, having said that, don’t count on the same things being served every time. One or more or all may appear or disappear or be replaced or substituted with something else on similar lines from the Thela the next time you happen to visit it. The only thing that remains constant is the principle of using organic whole-food ingredients minus any additives.
Instead of commercial processed sugars, great substitutes in natural form like: Cheeni, Shakkar, Brown Sugar, Gur Boora (powdered jaggery), are used, the only exception being sugar-free here.
Hot & Cold Beverages
Derivatives of Chai & coffee include: The 12 Spice Masala Chai, Chat-pa-Tea (Spicy Lemon Black Tea), Darjeeling Tea and Green Tea which are the hot varieties whereas the cool Lemon Iced Tea-Masala, Chocolate Cinnamon Iced Chai and Raw Mango Iced Tea enthrall the teaholics! Watch out for the Savoury Garlic Rosemary Lentil cake, a modern adaptation of the traditional Handvo, a pure delight!
To send the levels of caffeine soaring, three forms of Coffees are served: Espresso, Latte and Americano. All preparations of coffees vary between Rs 50-150. The Costa Rican Coffee is privately acquired from Dota Region; Vietnamese Coffee is the premium Sing Tao blend which comes for a whopping Rs 4000 per kg – No less!
The Kerala Organic Coffee – single origin costs Rs 50 for a mug, the beans are acquired directly from a half-Indian, half-Italian estate owner! The Iced Coffee, Vietnamese Iced Coffee Bean, Greek Frappe, Traditional Cold Coffee, Indian Arabic Bean Coffee from Karnataka and Thela Blend Coffee are chilled options often found here.
A Passionate Hobby
Biodegradable crockery is used as far as possible; with the exception of iced drinks that are served in tall plastic glasses. Jiten’s conceptual Thela is not his profession but his passion. It’s not a regular shop, but a make-shift kitchen set-up for events, dos & melas etc. A de-stresser of sorts for him, away from his high-pressure professional field, for just a couple of days in a month, makes him happy. Considering the fact that Jugmug Thela went public barely 3 weeks ago, they have already been lapped up by Fabindia and Dastkar for their events.
They are also available for private catering at events.
Way to go! On wheels!