How do you like your tea?

Totally. My wife, who grew up outside the US, was plied with these when she got sick as a child. I believe her family’s tipple of choice was brandy rather than whiskey/bourbon.

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Double boo to all those who throw stuff (masala, etc) into tea and call it “chai”. To a Swahili speaker like me, “chai” is the Swahili word for tea :stuck_out_tongue:


I fully agree!

And ‘chai’ is also the Hindi/Urdu word for ‘tea’. Can see how these came from the Chinese word for tea: Chá

The misuse of the word ‘chai’ elsewhere to mean either the spiced tea (the word for that is masala chai); or as you said, taking the spices, dumping them in anything else and calling that ‘chai’ is an ongoing annoyance.

I just don’t get why people mess up a simple word / concept. If it is plain tea, say ‘chai’. If it is spiced tea, say ‘masala chai’ or ‘spiced chai’ or ‘spiced tea’. Don’t freakin’ say ‘chai tea’!

If you are using the spices in something else, then ‘chai’ should not enter the chat, because that other dish is entirely something else, and you can just call it whatever it is. Don’t call it ‘chai spiced whatever’.

Why is this so hard?


Likely incorporated via the middle east or the indian diaspora in east Africa, I’d guess.

In western India it’s still Cha / Chaha and not Chai.

There are several interesting books on the path of tea (and how it drove English imperialism), I’m sure many here have already come across them. Here are a couple:

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Good references!

And here are a couple of detailed articles on the history of tea and masala chai in India:

(and on the topic of regional variations tea is called ‘chaya’ in Kerala). Kerala state grows tea, while neighboring Karnataka state grows coffee. Each state culture prefers its drink. Tamil Nadu state is in the coffee camp, and most of Northern India is in the chai camp. When we were young and going on long train journeys we could hear when the train crossed from one state to the next as the platform vendors changed from calling out “chai … chai … chaaaiii…” to "kapee … kaapeee … kaapeeeya …’ Now of course, everything is available everywhere.

This is a good map.

I find it interesting that Czechs call tea čaj, considering their neighbours mostly call it tee.


I enjoy tea many ways, true tea that is. I like green tea or oolong brewed light with nothing added. I like black teas with milk and sugar. I have Earl Grey with honey and lemon when my throat is sore. I will enjoy most any tea straight, with lemon, or with milk and sugar. I like unsweetened iced tea with lemon. I am not a fan of sweet tea but will drink it if that’s is what is served. I do like an Arnold Palmer made with real lemonade (made with sugar and lemon, not powder or artificial sweetener). To my taste an Arnold Palmer is one of the more refreshing hot weather drinks, refreshing enough that although my muni uses powdered lemonade I always grab one at the turn when playing golf in the Texas summer sun.

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I always drink my tea straight, nothing added. A few years ago I tried some more expensive teas, and honestly I can’t go back to supermarket teas. I even like to drink these teas cold. Two of the eight below are green teas.

After this order below (December 2023) I probably won’t have to order again for the next 4-6 months.