The taste of the tea culture of India may be best experienced in the small tea stalls that dot every street corner, alleyway, or roadside throughout the villages, towns, and cities of India.

They are quite a simple affair and offer nothing fancy or expensive, but offer great tea and accompaniments which are usually the regional specialty. It is interesting to see how the taste and the method of making tea vary widely in every part of the country. In the north the brew is really sweet and creamy. The mix of spices used is also different in various places. In some parts of southern India, the tea stalls offer meter chai where after the tea is prepared it is poured a couple of times from one container into another before serving, maintaining a certain distance between the two. This is believed to enhance the taste of the brew.

I remember stopping over at a tiny tea stand while traveling through the verdant countryside in southern India and watching the tea poured from a samovar, which is becoming a rare sight these days.

In any corner of the country, the tea seller or chai wallah on street side corners do brisk business throughout the day, handing out the potent brew which fuels the nation, poured into cups, glasses or small earthen pots. The incredible flavors of real Indian street chai offer an authentic tea experience along with a slice of its culture.