Slurrp Exclusive: Nikhil Kapur On Running One Of India’s Premier Tea Brands

Established by Sanjay Kapur in the 80s, Sancha has gone on to become one’s India’s leading tea companies. The company has 11 retail stores across India and exports to over 26 countries. With varieties from black, green, white and oolong to even iced teas, Sancha stocks all kinds of tea. We catch up with Sanjay Kapur’s son Nikhil Kapur to learn more about the brand.

How would you describe Sancha?

I think I would describe Sancha as a gourmet tea company focusing on quality. We want to bring to the market different flavours and aromas. India is blessed with different terroirs and climatic conditions. The distance between regions is vast and this results in a great variety of teas. We represent the diversity in Indian teas. Our focus is to blend the freshest produce. We have lots of blends with spices, herbs and flowers. We want to ensure that we have the freshest and the most aromatic produce.

How would you describe your role at Sancha?

It's kind of like a jack of all trades. We are passionately involved in the sourcing and production of teas. I'm looking after e-commerce and the growth of our online/digital platforms. However, it's very essential to remain focussed on sourcing and blending our teas.

When was Sancha started? Tell us a little bit about its history.

Sancha was started in 1981. The company name is Aap Ki Pasand, which was started by my father. He is a professional tea taster, who started his career in 1974. He worked for a tea company called Duncan’s in Calcutta. That’s where he learnt to taste teas, oversaw production, and got experience in how tea is grown, flavoured and evaluated. He returned to Delhi to start his own business. Aap Ki Pasand was started in Daryaganj. It is India's first gourmet tea store. The customer gets the same experience today as in 1981. Sancha is the brand name under which we have sold our teas for 40 years, while Aap Ki Pasand is the store in Daryaganj.

I was born into a family that was already involved in tea. At a very young age, we saw my parents passionately talk about tea. We often had tea samples brought to the house. My brother and I started consuming tea at a very young age. By the age of 11-12, we were drinking tea. It came naturally to us. My father would often talk about food and drinks. We were accustomed to hearing about it.

What are the challenges of working with a family business?

You have to be the jack of all trades. That's not the ideal situation. We are trying to work towards a formal structure within the organisation, where there is pure demarcation of responsibility. The decision-making is different for each family. It can be a challenge to implement something.

What do you have to say about other tea brands in India?

I see a lot of them coming up. Some of them are doing a great job of expanding the market overall. I wouldn't look at it as a jealous competitor in any way. The awareness about tea is increasing. People who have only had black tea can try different teas now. The market is expanding, and that’s a great thing.

What hopes do you have for Sancha in the future?

We're not really in the rat race. We don’t set ourselves unrealistic targets. At the moment, it’s about slowly and steadily recovering from Covid. We want to reach every tea connoisseur. We're also selling online which makes our teas accessible to more people. We've always grown at our own pace. We're selling an agricultural product and high quality teas cannot be machine made. For us to set targets like FMCG brands is not a good idea. We want to remain true to our brand.