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For Tauji, who never failed to amuse me with the copious amounts of tea he could consume in a single day. Thank you for all the pampering and presents, the nature walks, the history lessons. For all the late night paan and ice cream runs, thanks for all the love.

A cup of tea is more than just a cup of tea, in India its a cultural experience. The drink of a billion people, it’s no surprise then, that there are over a billion different ways to prepare a cup of chai. Over time, different regions have become known for a particular variants of the drink. Moreover, they have managed to mix their history, culture and traditions into a single cup of chai. From the creamy cuppa in Punjab to the soothing Laal Saah from Assam, this booklet tells you how to travel across India through chai, from the comfort of your very own kitchen.

Recreate the nostalgia of old irani cafes by making a cup of Irani Chai. This persian beverage is made overnight, by slowly brewing the tea while the milk is boiled and reduced separately. Mawa serves as a sweetener

Serve the sweet milky tea in a classic white ceramic cup and saucer. Proceed to savour it over hours of endless banter and a never ending supply of Osmania biscuits.

To bring the aroma of Kashmir valley to your living room, brew a fragrant cup of kahwah- a blend of green tea along with spices like cardamom, cinnamon and saffron. Honey serves as a sweetener.

Prepare in a copper kettle or ‘samovar’ and serve in tiny shallow cups known as ‘khosh’.

Sip on it after an elaborate family meal known as ‘Wazawan’. Chilly winters suit the beverage best, you can munch on ‘girda’- a baked bread while you pull your pashmina a little closer.

When you need something to jolt you awake while you spend hours cooped up in your office, down a tiny glass of cutting chai.

Guzzle it down with a vada pav while discussing everyday office gossip with your colleagues.

As the taste of ginger lingers in your mouth, find yourself next to a ‘tapris’, surrounded by the bustling chaos of the city that never sleeps.

Bring the tea gardens of Assam to your very own kitchen as you make yourself a cup of ‘Laal Saah’- black tea special to Assam. Taken without sugar or milk one can easily down a dozen cups a day- as you get ready for the day, after a heavy meal, while you take a break from work, as you take in the lush scenery looking out at the sunset..

As the crow of the rooster nudges you out of sleep, allow the strong concoction of Kadak Chai to pull you awake.

Don’t forget to add a generous dolop of ‘malai’ to your steel tumbler as you munch on freshly fried samosas- an extra kick to get you through the day.

Tea Time Travels- How to Experience India through Chai  
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