What is Garam
Chai, people sometimes ask us?
translated, "Garam Chai," means "Hot Tea."
To those of us who grew up in India, traveling in trains meant
waking up to the familiar cries of Chai.... garam chai! floating
above the cacophony as the train would come to a grinding
halt at a busy junction. With GaramChai.com, we attempt to
evoke that nostalgia for desi stuff, community and belonging
which, well, only a Garam cuppa Chai can! To see an extensive
listing of all our pages, please visit the Sitemap
Growing Taste For Tea Brews a Market
Rodman started drinking tea a year and a half ago, when her
husband complained that coffee was making her too hyper.
Now, she meets a good friend everyday at Tempest Tea, a local
loose-leaf tea cafe in Dallas. "I like the brewing thing,"
says the 49-year-old Mrs. Rodman as she sits on a green sofa
sipping a carbonated green-tea drink.
Tea drinking is on a roll in the U.S. There are some 2,000
tea houses nationwide, up from 200 a decade ago. And tea sales
reached $6.2 billion last year, more than quadruple their
level in the early 1990s, according to the Tea Association
of the USA. One big reason: Recent research has shown that
tea, particularly green tea, is loaded with antioxidants that
supposedly can help ward off ailments such as heart disease
Several companies are trying to make the most of Americans'
new fascination with an ancient beverage. Tealife LP opened
Tempest as something of a Starbucks knock-off: a trendy cafe
where customers can get tea on the go or relax on modern furniture.
It has just a single store, but hopes to have four by the
end of the year. TeaGschwendner USA Inc., originally a German
company with more than 130 stores globally, opened its first
U.S. store in Chicago in March 2005 and is targeting tea aficionados
with exotic blends and fancy brewing equipment. Foodx Globe
Co., which operates several tea shops in Japan, opened its
first U.S. green-tea bar in May in Seattle, and customers
can drink their brew while sitting on floor mats -- just like
Teavana Holdings Inc. of Atlanta has the biggest foothold
in the market with nearly 50 stores. It brews on site but
also relies on sales of tea pots and other tea paraphernalia
for revenue. As recently as 2001, Teavana had only two stores.
Teavana declined to comment, but its chief executive, Andy
Mack, recently told trade magazine Retail Traffic he plans
500 stores by the end of the decade.
These are all weak tea compared to publicly traded Starbucks
Corp., which has more than 10,500 locations world-wide and
hauled in $6.4 billion in revenue last year. But the coffee
giant started with a clear advantage. Tens of millions of
Americans quaffed coffee before Starbucks arrived. Starbucks
just persuaded them to buy fancier coffee. Tea drinking is
still an acquired taste for many Americans.
For years, tea was a time-consuming affair in the U.S. Enjoying
the drink meant buying a box of tea bags, heating water and
allowing the tea bag to sit in a cup for a few minutes. Tea
rooms were upscale places that sold fancy cookies and cucumber
In 1987, beverage company Snapple introduced an iced-tea line,
making tea as convenient as bottled juice and soda. Americans'
desire for ready-to-drink tea intensified through the 1990s
and into the 21st century.
"It took Snapple coming into the business to add some
pizzazz and upgrade the product," says Joseph Simrany,
president of the Tea Association, a trade group based in New
Tea sales kept growing as studies attributed health benefits
to imbibing the brew. In May, scientists at Yale's medical
school said green tea might explain why Asians have lower
rates of heart disease and lung cancer than Americans, even
though they smoke more. Calling the phenomenon the "Asian
Paradox," the scientists wrote in the Journal of the
American College of Surgeons that antioxidants in green tea
could stymie disease-causing cells.
At least two business models have emerged among entrepreneurs
trying to grab a piece of the emerging tea market. Some appeal
to a more high-end clientele. Others push the mass appeal
TeaGschwendner targets upscale customers with rare teas and
accessories. The store sells stylish tea pots, filter equipment,
even candles. A distinctive Russian teapot goes for more than
$1,000. And while the store sells basic teas, it also offers
exotic blends, like a scarce green tea called Japanese Shincha
that costs about $350 a pound. Home brewing is the store's
focus, but the American version has added bistros with full
lunch and dinner menus to draw in customers. The combined
atmosphere strives to offer the ultimate in tea selection
and decor, what Charles Cain, TeaGschwendner's operations
director, refers to as a "museum of tea."
Tempest founders Brian and Jody Rudman focus on mass appeal.
The object is to "present our teas much in the way Starbucks
would present coffee," says Dr. Rudman, an anesthesiologist.
He and his wife wanted to take out the stuffiness associated
with English tea drinking and make it more compatible with
the busy American lifestyle.
Patrons can get tea brewed on demand from a person behind
a counter; the shop offers salads, sandwiches and wraps. The
store offers 75 varieties of hot and cold brews, including
16 bubble teas, the milkshake-like, fruit-flavored drinks
that appeal to teens and 20-somethings. - (Mike Spector) Wall
Judaism, the Chai symbol consists of the letters
Het (ח) and Yod
(י). In the
Hebrew language, the word chai (חי)
spelled by these two letters means "living",
and is related to the word for "life", chaim,
and also appears in the slogan am yisrael chai
חי, "The people of Israel lives!",
referring to all Jews). There have been various mystical
numerological speculations about the fact that according
to the system of
gematria, the letters of chai add up to 18
"Jewish use of the Tetragrammaton" and
"Lamedvavniks"). Many Jews give gifts
of money in multiples of 18 as a result.