Chai History – Builder's tea -British or Desi ?

Chai at cafe wander lust

Chai History



Tea is the most consumed beverage in India. People of India like to drink the strongly brewed tea with milk and sugar which is known as chai. The chai was never an Indian thing and the desi chai as we know is British. It’s known as builder’s tea and from the name you might get the hint that this tea was meant for the working class in Britain specially the labor who could not afford tea. In 1916 the ministry of Munitions health committee claimed the health benefits of the tea and also its caffeine properties kept the production up for the Industries. Tea’s high in caffeine and tannin such as Assam tea was preferred to make builder’s tea as it was produced in India and rates were controlled by the East India Company. Talking about Assam tea it was the East India Company that brought the Chinese tea seeds and method to Assam to grow tea. The company also gave huge subsidy to the businessmen willing to establish Tea plants. This was all done to compete with the Chinese tea worldwide and china is now world no 2 producer of tea while India stand strong at no 1.

Few years after the builders tea was promoted in Britain it was advertised in India by the tea board. Since then builder’s tea or the chai has become a house hold beverage in India with many variations but it would still have Brewed tea, milk and sugar.

Though the tea  existed in India even before the British ruel  but it was then used for its medical qualities rather than as a beverage. Here is a list of the places where you can enjoy a perfect chai In Delhi

Best places to have tea in Delhi

  • Chai Bar, Cp overs teas from all over the world and you should try there truck wali chai
  • Soda bottle opener wala ,Khan market and Gurgoan – There tea goes well with their nan khatai
  • Café Lota is well known for promoting Regional cuisine and you would get plenty to pair your chai
  • Café wanderlust , Gurgoan – They make a very home friendly variant which is subtle but excellent
  • Dhabha by Claridges – They make a very nice Dhabha style chai


Referred   – Wikipedia

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One comment

  1. 1

    Hi sorry did not get your name from your id. We have team which covers all the parts of delhi and on common terms we post the list.

    Coming to your accusation of management quota. I would love to inform you that chayyos founders are a very good friend of mine and If I would have added them to the list then we could have accepted your blame. Also chayyos lack food pairing and brewing for your information. So that’s the reason we exclude it from the list.

    Tpot is a place only a person living in East delhi would also not know and it is not a place you could sit and relax and have tea.

    As far as Too Mikki Tapas is concerned, it is a junked up version and the teas in Cha Bar are much better than Too Mikki Tapas.

    Food is subjective and we write for our audience who are not Street food based. There are few blogs you can follow that would match you palate.

    Nikhil chawla

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