Best Chai? Definitely the 10-rupee priced in the ‘traditional Indian places’


I’m a big fan of chai, India’s national energy drink. It is rich of flavors and gives you a real ‘kick’. Usually I drink coffee in the morning, but a good Indian chai is the ultimate substitute when a real cappuccino is out of reach. ‘How to make good chai’, is a question I have asked many times during my stay in Pune. The answer is almost always different. However, people always refer the basics of a good Indian chai: black tea, skimmed fat milk, cloves, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar and water. While some recipes advise you to also add lemon grass leaves, fennel or nutmeg, the trick is to find the good variety of your ingredients and cook it. Too much pepper or ginger will make your chai spicy and ‘hot’, to little makes it lifeless. I had chai during on many occasions and I will definitely not label myself as an expert. On the other hand, I dare to say that I have a good taste and can easily define the difference between a quality chai and an uninspiring tea. So what did I learn in the past 4 months? The funny thing is this: I found a ‘rule’, that is almost always right: the more you pay for your chai, the less perfect it is. Let’s be more precise and turn it around: the best chai is sold anywhere on the streets for (mostly 10 INR only). So if you’re in Pune/India and you like chai, don’t expect to pay a lot of rupees and buy one where everyone else buys a chai; on the streets and in the small shops.

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