Jaipur is witnessing explosion in Cafe culture. The term cafe brings up images of the ones lined up along the streets/ piazza/ squares in Paris, Milan and elsewhere in Europe. However, the cafe’s in Jaipur are not on those lines. The one’s that we have here in Jaipur are styled with casual interiors and a dose of quirkiness. Garage look is really in! There’s immense creativity but none of them differs to offer new concept; they all are patterned on same theme!
As a breather, tea culture is catching up fast with host of tea house springing up across Jaipur. India is a tea drinking nation and therefore tea is the most popular drink. You can find a tea vendor at every nook and corner. South India is an exception where Filter Coffee is popular.
Tea is called Chai in Hindi.
Tea Cafe’s started appearing in Jaipur some 7-8 years ago as an affordable alternative to the cafe’s serving coffee. Catering to the young crowd especially students with affordable prices and Indian menu, the concept was an instant hit.
Affordability is a big USP when it comes students. Outstation students in Jaipur need a place to hangout. A place where they can chill, exchange notes and catch up with friends! Affordable Chai cafe’s or tea house fits the bill perfectly!
With many such Chai Cafe’s spread across the city, it gave a new dimension to the booming cafe culture. The atmosphere in tea house is casual and relaxed; there’s nothing formal about it.
Some tea house realized the potential of untapped business through upmarket tea house at posh locations. Tea cafe’s offer huge assortment of tea from the usual masala, ilaichi, tulsi Chai to variety of green tea; drinking tea is no longer considered as downmarket. These were hybrid of the affordable tea cafe and coffee brewing cafes, offering best of east and west. Serving popular Indian and International menu allowed them to cater to a variety of customers. Probably, this was a safe bet, to balance it out by mitigating any loss making situation. Imagine a scenario where Grandpa prefers Masala Chai with Parantha whereas grand daughter’s choice is Latte with cheese garlic bread; no one has to compromise and it’s a win-win situation. A new niche was established which was a runaway success. The business was so good that some Tea Cafes opened up at multiple locations in Jaipur.
So what makes tea house or chai cafe tick amidst the booming coffee culture? I think people feel happy with their own food (read food habits) and culture. Tea is part of Indian culture and there’s some comfort we all derive in our habit! Same holds true for Aaloo Parntha vis-a-vis coleslaw sandwich or burger. Say what you may but we all feel at home with our own food. I’m sure on a rainy day, most of us will prefer Adrak Chai with Pakora than a coffee with French fries!!
In past, Chai was associated with the roadside vendors which were referred as Thadi. Students would gang up with their friends at these roadside tea stalls. In recent years, Chai cafe’s are offering better option for those who love Chai and a place to hangout.
Tea house or Chai Cafe like Tapri Jaipur or Tea Tradition offer a break from the predictable menu and ambiance of the “me too” cafe’s.
If you are visiting Jaipur do visit these tea cafe’s which makes for a differentiated experience and atmosphere.