India's first woman tea taster Dolly Roy passes away in Kolkata

Dolly Roy, wife of TMC leader Saugata Roy, introduced the concept of a 'tea bar' to Kolkata with the iconic Dolly's Tea shop in the Dakshinapan shopping complex

Dolly Roy
Dolly Roy

NH Digital

Dolly Roy, India's first woman tea taster, passed away at a hospital in Kolkata on Friday after battling cancer for a long time. She is survived by her husband, senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Saugata Roy, a three-time Lok Sabha member.

For the tea-loving Bengalis, memories of Dolly will always remain special— she was the pioneer who introduced the concept of a 'tea bar' to Kolkata.

'Dolly's Tea', a concept ideated and actualised by her at Dakshinapan, a popular shopping complex featuring mostly government emporia in South Kolkata, continues to be a favourite haunt for youth and intellectuals—those who prefer a chat over a cuppa to the coffee-house addas (gatherings).

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee extended her condolences through a tweet on Friday. "A woman of great achievements, her warm presence among us will be dearly missed," the TMC supreme wrote.

TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, along with other party leaders, attended the funeral proceedings.

Her collection had a mixture of traditional Darjeeling and Assam tea varieties, along with ginger tea, lemon lea, mint tea, and iced tea.

Despite being the wife of a seasoned politician, the always smiling and affectionate Roy preferred avoiding discussions on politics.

Recalling Roy, former journalist and expert commentator in the tea sector Nandini Goswami told IANS that Dolly will continue to live in the memories of Bengali tea lovers for her immense in-depth knowledge of the tea industry and her ability to greet everyone with a charming smile.

"Both as a journalist as well as a connoisseur of tea, it became a habit for me to visit Dolly's Tea frequently. It was like a bonus for me, as I got the chance of enjoying the variant flavours of traditional and spicy tea, as well as enjoy the depth of her knowledge as an expert in the sector.

"But what used to embarrass me was that at times after a long chat about the sector, which I enjoyed listening to and she enjoyed talking about, she would refuse to accept money for the tea and snacks that I enjoyed during the course of the conversation," Goswami said.

Roy had toured several countries as a tea ambassador of India in the 1970s.

With IANS inputs.

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