All for a cup of tea!

A family member casually remarked that I had missed an occasion to celebrate International Tea day, given the tea fanaticism that marks my daily life. Most of the world drinks this brew in varied forms and with different additives ranging from milk, sugar, honey, lemon or sometimes just plain black.

My fascination with tea began in my childhood when my uncle, being a tea lover, introduced me to the brew in my school days. That started my lifelong association with chai though my taste and affinity for it evolved over time. The fragrant masala chai that I drink daily unlocks powerful memories right from my childhood to the sleepless nights and early mornings during my college days when I simultaneously pursued two different degrees, the chai breaks with friends from the campus reading room before the finals and more recently, the late nighters, that is inherent in a corporate environment.

The short work trips abroad tested my tea affinity. I almost always skipped breakfast on mornings on those occasions and lined up outside the nearest Starbucks for a chai tea latte, the closest affiliate to my chai back home. I had experimented with a few other outlets tasting teas blasphemously labeled as chai before settling in on the starbucks solution. From Hong Kong to Singapore, Sydney to Tokyo this solution worked well for me so much to a point where I would locate the nearest Starbucks before I enter my hotel or serviced apartment. When work opportunities forced a permanent relocation, I had to look for more permanent solutions. Just like the character in O’Henry’s All for a cup of tea, I scouted out the Indian grocery shops and noted their delivery times, their adherence to the brand I ordered. My chosen grocer learnt not to mess with my chai brand though he often took liberty with replacing my preferred dhal and other food brands. My husband’s preferred go-to-brew became a mug of masala chai when discussing serious issues though he had no particular affinity to caffeinated drinks.

Back home, I made it a point to show off my tea brewing skills to my closest relatives and family starting from the amount of tea powder to be used, the tea masala (home made or bought) that should be used in conjunction with just the right amount of milk and the art of filtering it after brewing it for just the right amount of time. While I may win no culinary prizes, my chai making skills caught the fancy of my family and friends and the labour of love marked a turning point in increasing the number of tea drinkers in my social circle.

Needless to say, the tea affinity continues!


  1. Have always been a lover of elaichi and ginger tea- desi style. I recently started tulsi green tea more to soothe the throat at office just before this lockdown and had started liking it. Just like you Lav infact maybe I am worst at cooking but make really good chai

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  2. Though I am not a much tea lover but in morning I need a cup to get energy. I like ginger tea and green tea. most. loved your tea story, it was a refreshing read.

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  3. I keep switching between tea and coffee and but never could give up on any of them. My favourites are ginger tea, elaichi tea and lemongrass tea. In some asian they serve, cold milk tea and I’m very fond of that too!

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  4. interesting post. i have no inclination towards tea. my mother had to force it down my throat when I was ill so I would have some kind of hot drink. otherwise, to date, I don’t make or drink tea.

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  5. I love our desi masala chai and I make the masala at home. My husband and I love the perfect brewed tea with right amount of tea and masala with less sugar. Tea is love to such an extent that I had to intentionally stop for 2 reasons; control my excessive tea drinking and 2 to detox my body. Bit after 4 days of no tea, I gave up…. I need my Jumbo cup of tea to survive.

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  6. Being a tea lover myself, I can totally relate to this post. Tea is an emotion for me, I too have written a post on my affair with this hot beverage (Love at first kiss) in case you wish to read πŸ™‚

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  7. Tea and coffee are loves of life, right!!! I was that too. But during the lockdown, I got so tired of making endless cups of chai and coffee for the man in the house that I have given up coffee totally!!!

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  8. I used to be addicted to tea, to the point that I would get these nasty headaches if I don’t take my tea on time. But as I moved away from home, I struggled to bring that addiction under control since I couldn’t deal with its consequence – head-splitting headaches! But gradually, I was able to wean myself off of tea. I still enjoy an occasional cup then and now. I am glad that you didn’t let anything, anyone or any place come in between you and tea. πŸ™‚

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  9. I never liked tea. Started having tea two years ago, and now I’m addicted. I mean I need 2-3 cups a day otherwise I get a headache. Sigh! ‘You know, I have started drinking tea,’ last year, I said this to my old college friend.
    ‘Ab badi hui ho tum,’ she replied. πŸ™‚
    I like sugary, milky, adrak-elaichi tea. I leave it to simmer for a while. And I usually don’t like it if someone else make it for me but since I’m addicted now, I can drink even train waali chai. πŸ™‚

    Really enjoyed reading post.

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  10. I completely concur! We like our tea brewed a certain way – everyday! and that’s it! We are willing to make the effort to make or find the right blend!
    I know that I would rather not have a cup of tea, than have a poorly made one. I have learnt to politely set the cup aside and carry on talking πŸ™‚ while a good cup of tea ensures that I will be back for another tete-a-tete over tea πŸ™‚

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  11. Ohh! I think we can be best friends! Because I have an equal passion for my cup of masala chai. And in the morning I am unable to function without the fragrant cuppa. This is one of the most identifiable post that I have read today.

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  12. Hi-five from a fellow tea lover! I’ve replaced the morning milk tea with a ‘posh sounding’ Earl Grey as I’m growing old. But the masala/cardamom tea is my most favourite. I keep making it for two and drink twice while working.

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