Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

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Monday 5 March 2018

India coast to coast day 8

India coast to coast day 8
I had come all the way to India to discover if you can find a cup of tea that isn't "just a cup of tea". To qualify it would need to be worthy of a rating of more than 7 out of 10. I had sampled a lot of tea at a number of local tea shops and although there had been a wide variety none had stood out. If there was such a thing as a not "just a cup of tea" then today I hoped to find it as we were heading to a tea plantation!
Tea plants as far as the eye could see
Yesterday we had had a nice rest day when I had chosen to go running (as I'm currently training for the London marathon although I don't like to talk about it) while I sent Mrs Crusader off to the local spice plantation with a shopping list of the spices to bring back. On her return she explained she could only afford a tiny mixed spice packet as she had accidently spent all the money on a massage.

Today's route was the first up and down ride of the trip and we soon found ourselves surrounded by tea. 
Tea on all the hillsides
After a few miles it was time to pop into a nearby tea factory for a both interesting and informative presentation on the history of tea. Here I discovered that tea was invented in China and only started to be produced in India in the 1800's when Britain couldn't get tea from China due to the Opium wars. China is also the biggest producer of tea in the world.
Admiring the tea factories bushes
Hearing these facts were like a dagger to the heart as I realised I may have come to the wrong country for my tea based search. I think I know where our next cycling adventure maybe heading.
Where I should have gone for my tea based research
After the both interesting and informative presentation on the history of tea, including the complimentary bombshell, we were given a tour of the tea making process. It is top secret so no photos were allowed but it basically involves some drying, chopping and sieving, who'd have thought.
About to enter the top secret tea factory
Next came bombshell number 2 in that this factory only makes tea granules and powder (not leaf tea) targeted at the Indian chai market. You may remember I had already established that chai should be avoided at all times and only black tea should ever be drunk. As we moved towards the tea tasting part of the tour I now had low expectations that this would be the one.

I tried the two different types of tea on offer which confirmed my worst fears. Although it was very nice tea it was just another cup of tea. My fellow tea tasters were also in agreement with my findings and the search had to go on.
Nice tea but still just a cup of tea
We left the tea factory and continued the ride along a hilly section with tea bushes as far as the eye can see. I had not given up on my quest as we were in the heart of tea country so there must be a good cup of tea somewhere I thought.
Another picture of tea, hopefully you understand by now that we cycled past a lot of tea
Unfortunately it wasn't to be found at our next stop which was a bit modern for my tastes and the tea was very tea bag based. I even tried the ginger tea which wasn't a patch on the one we had at our very first tea shop stop.
Poor tea bag based tea at this tea shop
After the break we turned off the main road and headed to lunch where Mrs Crusader, after spending all our holiday money on a massage, was sent to the bank to get some more. I escorted her back to the bike to make sure no further spontaneous shopping opportunities occurred.

We were now leaving tea country where the landscape changed to a more jungle feel. The roads were narrow and I realised just how underprepared the local infrastructure was. If there was a cold snap and it snowed (like we were hearing about in the UK every time I went near my phone) it would be total carnage with people snowed in for months. A little investment in snow ploughs and gritter lorries could pay dividends in the long run.
These roads would be lethal in a cold snap

The ride finished with a spectacular 8 mile descent though what I can only describe as jungle,
Down the long descent through the jungle
before we arrived at our overnight jungle stop where I hoped to see a tiger (I didn't)..
Overlooking the Jungle but sadly no sign of Tigers
Tomorrow we enter another new landscape of rubber, spices and fruit where I have been promised I will be able to see a pineapple in the wild and hopefully find that special cup of tea.

Tomorrow's weather forecast (what a surprise back to 30C + and full sun)

Cafe ratings

 Teashop Tea rating Food rating AAA Tea shop score
 Auraville visitor centre cafe day 2  3 4.67
 Caddaloor day 3 7 7.5 6.78 7.09
 Buvanagiri day 3 5.8 3 3.7 4.16
 Anakkarai day 4 4.5 6.8 5.6 5.63
 Reghunaedhapuram day 4 6.2 3.2 4.9 4.76
 Rayavaram day 5 6 5.6 8 6.53
 Kummankudi day 6 4 4 4.2 4.06
 Kilavalave day6 5.9 1 6.4 4.43
 Othakkadai Madurai day 6 6 3.8 3 4.27
 Uthamapalayam day 7 6.3 3.2 7 5.5
 Pampanar day 8 3.2 4.5 4.8 4.16

 Miles Average speed  Time riding  Metres climbed
 Day1 familiarisation  2.9 8.08 0:21 2
 Day 2 Puducherry loop 14 9.76 1:26 77
 Day 3 Puducherry to Chidambaram  63.2 12.68 4:59 119
 Day 4 Chidambaram to Tanjoure  41.9 12.35 3:23 69
 Day 5 Tanjoure to Chettinad 63.6 14.35 4:26 247
 Day 6 Chettinad to Madurai 58.1 14.22 4:05 238
 Day 7 Madurai to Thekkady 23.2 11.99 1:56 581
 Day 8 Thekkady to Vagamon 42.3 11.18 3:47 911
 Overall 307.2 12.61 24:21 2244

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