Romesh Ram Gour is content. While his signature invention, a seven-layer rainbow of different varieties of tea, has gained fans around the world, he has no use for riches. “What for?” he asked a Guardian journalist who suggested he expand beyond his two-stall operation. “For money? A bigger TV? I’m happy with life as it is.”
Gour has every reason to be happy. The owner of two tea shops in the northeast Bangladeshi region of Sylhet, Gour made an amazing discovery: If he poured teas made using different spices, tea leaves, and milk one on top of one another, the varying densities created distinct layers. The resulting seven-color tea, or saata rong cha in Bengali, quickly became a hit. The multicolored brew alternates from bright green to dusky brown and milky red, like striated desert sandstone. While the seven-layer version is classic, Gour has reportedly managed to squeeze up to 10 distinct colors in one glass.
In 2012, the prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, summoned Gour to reproduce the famed drink for her personally. While he wasn’t able to take a photo with the prime minister, Gour told BDnews24.com that he kept the glass he used as a souvenir. Not to be outdone, in 2017 the Qatari ambassador to Bangladesh, Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Dehaimi, paid Gour’s Nil Kantha Cha Cabin a visit. Al-Dehaimi was so inspired by the drink, he reportedly paid Gour 7,000 Bangladeshi taka, or about $83, for one glass.
So how does he do it? While Gour refuses to reveal the secret recipe, those who have tasted the brew report layers of cinnamon, lemon, cloves, and condensed milk.
Need to Know
While Gour’s tea has attracted high-profile fans, he still serves it out of two roadside stalls typical of the region. Unlike the big chains, they don’t take credit cards, so make sure you carry plenty of taka. Unless you’re a Qatari ambassador, however, you probably won’t need 7,000 Tk.
Where to Try It
Nilkantha Tea CabinNilkantha Tea Cabins, Border Guard Canteen, Srimongol, Bangladesh
Gour's first location.
Adi Nilkantha Tea CabinKalighat Road, Srimongol, 3210, Bangladesh
Local rickshaw drivers can help you find this well-known tea spot. It's a two-minute drive down the same road from the first location.