This is not ‘achaa’

2014_tobkarak_1_portrait 2014_tobkarak_7_portrait 11380158_952519801499867_1207622932_n IMG-20110518-000472014_tobkarak_6_gallery unnamedBahrain’s been taken by the proverbial storm in the last couple of years.
Kiosks and roadside cafeterias have been cashing in on what they call ‘karak’ (strong) chai (tea) and everyone’s been making a beeline for these joints as if they are the ultimate in serving the “most consumed beverage in the world.”
Yes, there are are a few (just a couple I have tried) who churn out something vaguely resembling the tea we Indians at large are used to but most of them pass off hot flavoured water as the ‘chai’.
Many of them have since ‘gratuated’ to serving other beverages and sandwiches as well and thought of innovative names (like Acha Chai, or Good Tea) but the basic fare remains the same.
I am no lover of this brand of tea, in Bahrain or anywhere else in the world, including in India, but the platform chai in Mumbai or the 100-mile chai in Northern India are a delight to have, and even more so if you happen to be standing on the roadside during peak winter or heavy rain.
It’s a pity the once flourishing breed of tea connoisseurs is fast diminishing in India – the world’s tea pot – and most people have resorted to the quickfire ‘dip-dip’ variety but the saving grace is that the roadside and kiosk ‘chai-wallas’ are an ever-growing community.
Bahrain, of course, is no exception but what’s being passed of as the “real” thing is actually nothing more than what I said earlier – flavoured hot water.
I must put on record here that the best ‘outside’ tea I have had recently was at the VIP Terminal of the Karachi International Airport in 2013. We were on our way back from Kochi, India, when the Bahrain Royal Flight had a re-fueling stop at the Pakistani port city. Our group was then pampered by the hospitable airport staff and the individually-served tea was clearly the high point of the Royal treatment.

9 thoughts on “This is not ‘achaa’

  1. Oh it’s sad that the so called karak chai is neither kadak nor Acha wala chai.. I completely agree with you on the chais we get here in India.. So full of flavour and for such a meagre amount.. A very interesting read though .. ๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no idea if the Chai here in the states is any good or not. I have tried it in the past and decided I did not care for it. But to have the “real deal” I would be interested to experience the comparison. It’s funny how so many foods and products have been “watered down” in the fast food industry. We are always in a hurry! How can we enjoy anything and truly experience it deeply unless we take time? I think of Thich Nhat Hahn who is quoted, โ€œDrink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.โ€, has the skinny on enjoying a great cup of tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the perfect comment.
      A great cup of tea is something that one has to deliberate with. The ‘dip-dip’ system is the worst possible. I have to sit with my tea to drink it and, before that, spend time making it, making sure it’s perfectly brewed. Sadly, the water quality also makes a difference to the final taste and it often doesn’t taste that perfect taste.


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