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Chai or tea?

moniak

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  • Added on: December 3rd, 2007
I've heard the word "chai" in the English use many times, and in one of the topics here, but I still don't know what it is, except that it's tea.

Basically, the word for "tea" is either tea, or chai, depending on which language you speak.
A couple of examples:
Chá (Portugese), Çay (Turkish), Chai (Russian)
Tee (German, Dutch), Te (Swedish), Thé (French)

So, the same cup of Assam or Darjeeling tea will be called "tea" in England and "chai" in Russia.
What's the difference between tea and chai?
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KateL57

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  • Added on: December 3rd, 2007
Yeah....in the US people do say chai as well, but only for Indian/masala chai - with the sugar, milk, ginger, cardamom.

Unfortunately it is even called a "chai latte" at Starbucks. In my opinion, this is just wrong.

But in the US at least, tea usually refers to most other, non-milk kinds. Chai is specifically the Indian milk variety.

Could lead to some wrong orders I guess!
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girlgoesglobal

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2007
Who needs tea when you can have coffee?
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RalphTheWonderLlama

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by moniak:
What's the difference between tea and chai?


Well, I can't speak for everywhere, but I am English and I do drink a vast amount of tea of many different types. I think my blood may consist, in large measure, of tea. I therefore think I am qualified at least to offer an opinion. I was in India recently and they use both 'tea' and 'chai' because there at least they are distinctly different drinks.

'Tea' is usually black tea i.e. brewed leaf tea but usually served without milk and usually with quite a lot of sugar. 'Tea' can also cover a wide range of fruit/herbal teas. 'Chai', on the other hand, also comes in many varieties but is most often the masala chai referred to above. Made with a mixture of milk and water, boiled with a little sugar (if you're me) or a lot of sugar (the standard Indian recipe), then add opened cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves, plus ginger if you like. Simmer for a little longer, then add tea and boil/simmer again for a bit. Sieve and serve, with a little tea masala on top if you like. Noice.

Incidentally, not being terribly sweet-toothed on of the first things I learned to say in Hindi was 'binna chinni' - no sugar. Usually to looks of disbelief Smile
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moniak

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2007
RalphTheWonderLlama,
quote:
I was in India recently and they use both 'tea' and 'chai'

So, is it where the distinction originates. Do the Hindu use both words, depending on how they have their tea, ie. plain (tea), or with milk and spiced (chai)?
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Madhu

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2007
Chai is Hindi (Hindu is person who belives in the Hindu religion, Hindi is the national language) version of Tea in India...means the same thing.In India they mean the same Black tea brewed with milk and sugar. If you ask for Tea without milk they might just look at you funny. Basically in India tea/chai is with milk and sugar. Herbal teas are basically non existant.

The starbucks chai does not exist in India..its one of inventions which has no origin in the roots of the actual thing.
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KateL57

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  • Added on: December 5th, 2007
quote:
The starbucks chai does not exist in India..its one of inventions which has no origin in the roots of the actual thing.


...but the Starbucks drink is based on the what I get when I ask for chai in India, no? It's not the same of course (definitely not as good), I'm just thinking that generally when people in the US say chai, it is that type of drink they are referring to, not black tea without milk, even though chai means tea generally in Hindi (and Bosnian and other languages).

I did just hear someone order chai with two shots of espresso Crazy Innovation, yum.
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: March 23rd, 2008
The Starbucks version tastes like white English breakfast tea.

Its definitely not even worth trying more than once. Better stick to a cup of Orange Pekoe rather than the powdered artificially flavored and colored concoction they call Chai!!!!

BabySmurf

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  • Added on: April 11th, 2008
I've had Chai tea from Starbucks and it was too sweet. I wouldn't try it again. I rather stick to my regular green tea.

RalphTheWonderLlama

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  • Added on: April 12th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by BabySmurf:
Chai tea from Starbucks


I can barely begin to imagine how staggeringly awful this must be *shudder*
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Madhu

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2008
Yeah and one day they will apply for a patent for chai..just like some farmers in US tried with basmati rice!.

Here is a simple recipie for Chai that everybody can make it at home:

1. Take a cup of water and boil in a bowl.
2. Once water comes to boil put a tea bag (lipton would work fine)
3. Add sugar to taste.
4. Add a little cardamon pods and (a little piece of ginger for a little more exotic taste)
You don;t need any of the fancy tea masala's.
5. Add some milk

and bring this to a boil.

If you want stronger tea put 2 bags of tea for one cup and a little more milk. You can also use loose tea leaves for this...it is sually stronger than the tea bags.

This is how we make it at home :-)

Now no need to go to Starbucks.
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KathrynD

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2008
However, true Indian chai is a wonderful thing. Really not something you want to get a Starbucks simulation of.

However, there is one drink that I love at Starbucks that I probably shouldn't. That's the green tea frappucino. I discovered them in the Starbucks underneath my hotel in Singapore back in 2001. Oh, I became addicted. I was down there every afternoon, hanging out and drinking those green tea frappucinos.

I'm afraid to admit that I almost danced with joy when they eventually arrived at the Starbucks down the street from my home. I eventually weaned myself off of them and back to a regular (less fattening) latte. Still, they are a fine thing.

jv

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2008
Kathryn, I believe that post belongs in the "travel confessions" thread!

Jhonthompson

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  • Added on: May 25th, 2009
well as far i konw CHAI is the hindi version of english word TEA...!!!but i love coffee most!
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marrabel

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  • Added on: January 28th, 2011
Chai is a great spice milk tea from India, the taste is wonderful, but I prefer coffee more.


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