Let’s first say that Indians drink tea a few times a day. Especially when someone visits them or when they meet somebody new. "Before we drink it we may be strangers, but after drinking chai we become friends" one friend told me.
Making chai is quite simple. You take tea (usually leaf tea), water and milk. To make a glass of chai we take half glass of water, half glass of milk and for example two spoons of tea. You put all of this in a pot and boil it. After it boils we turn the gas of and let the tea stand and cool of a bit for around three minutes (an advice from my friend’s mother). During the cooking Indians usually add sugar. But if you don’t like sweet tea and you make chai at home you can omit that part. Or add sugar later.
Chai should be drunk hot. It always puzzled me since India is a very hot place even without drinking hot drinks. However, drinking it hot goes together well with the philosophy: we eat and drink according to our climate. When you drink something hot the temperature of your body rises and to cool it of you start to sweat. Thus, when you drink something hot – you get cooler. I have to admit that it makes sense to me now J
You can buy chai anywhere. In restaurants, tea shops, on street stands, bus or train stations or trains themselves. Drinking tea in a train is a great experience and I recommend it to everyone ;). You can have it in china cups, metal containers, tiny plastic cups or glasses.
There is something unique and beautiful in the way the tea is treated in India. It's such a special beverage drunk in a special way. If you ever travel to India try it or let someone invite you to it.
A metal cup with a saucer. Tea can be poured into the saucer to make it cooler
Tea in a usual, small glass
Homemade tea in a stylish cup
Tibetan chai with butter
Chai stand in Surat
Pictures by me :)