The almost worn out Hotel Laxmi Nivas is the favorite pit stop of motorists on NH 75 (earlier 48). Whatever may be the time of the day, a stop at the hotel is a must to sip that aromatic, visually tempting KT.
The origin of KT is a bit of a mystery for even the present owner Shivarama Holla (42), even though it is being served since five decades. “My grandfather Laxminarayana Holla went to Madras on a visit. When he came back, he started the unique KT on an experimental basis and it was an instant hit. He said it was being served in Madras. I have not known KT being served anywhere even in Madras,” he says.
So what’s KT? While normal tea has a frothy milk cream layer atop of the tea, KT has a one fourth layer of thick tea decoction sitting atop thick milk.
It seems simple when Holla explains how it is done: “Pour hot milk and let the thick tea decoction land atop the milk slowly with the help of a spoon. There you have it.” But more than technique – it is the consistency of the milk, the amount of sugar and the proportion of the decoction which makes the difference, Holla, lets the cat out of the bag. No wonder, KT being replicated at many other hotels here and elsewhere does not taste like Kalldka KT! No wonder it has a found a page on Facebook and Orkut.
Though he does not count the number of KT’s served per day, he says on an average 80-100 litres of milk and 3-4 kilograms of tea powder is used. “Sixty per cent of our customers have either KT or Rimjhim (coffee version of KT),” he observes. The rest lap up the steaming dali thovve (with idli), golibaje and tuppa dosa.
KT was prepared using Kelaguru tea powder for 30 years and later switched on to Devagiri brand. “Honestly, tea powder does not make a difference. The only criterion is that tea decoction has to be thick. It’s actually the creaminess of milk plus the amount of sugar added is the differentiator,” he says. Holla has plans to upgrade the hotel, when pointed about cleanliness aspect. “We will have a new building as soon as NHAI decides how much they will acquire for the four lane,” he adds.