Cutting Chai Tea Of Mumbai | Tapri Cutting Tea Recipe

“Details and Recipe of Mumbai Cutting Chai (Cutting Tea) ? What ‘Cutting’ means, and ‘Tapri ki Chai’. Strong, Light, Pani Cum are all varieties of same tea. Here i go about my knowledge with Recipe and other details about what all this means to Mumbai when it comes to simply drinking cutting chai on streets and not restaurants of Mumbai city..”

Street Side Tea 'Chai' Stall in City
Tea Stall in Mumbai

What is Cutting Chai Tea ?

The culture of Tea is very old, I really don’t know the origin is china or India or some other country. And me and many of we Mumbai citizens really don’t care about same as we have out version of tea, ‘The Cutting Chai’ of Tapri on Mumbai streets and almost at every other corner. So what are all those Tea lingos calling ‘Tapri’ and ‘Cutting Chai’, ‘Adrak Wali Chai’ is all about ?

Tapri Meaning : Tapri is any small shed or unauthentic tea or any other food stall, which is not even looking like a small restaurant but just a street side spot with couple of wooden sheets to keep sugar and tea boxes etc and a Gas Stove to prepare Tea or any other product that Tapri serves to people standing all around.

These spots, or say small shops have no specific shape or size and are found anywhere in market area. A small shade beneath a tree, At corner of road junction, A Sub leased place at entrance or maximum a very small shop with nothing but couple of basic wooden seating and a guy at entry preparing tea in open air with couple of glass bottles filled with cookies and biscuits etc surrounded, is what a Chai Tapri is referred and called. It is basically not a regular word, But a Mumbai Lingo to refer and fast serving tea centre, the very special, known and preferred ‘Cutting Chai’.

Here is a video showing a typical Chai Tapri Stall, How Tea is served and why it is called a Cutting Tea.

Cutting Chai : Usually when we serve tea to someone, we give a cup full. In Mumbai, not always all people prefer one full cup of tea as while travelling they prefer half the serving multiple times a day instead for various reasons as listed below. So, the tea is cut (Actually reduced by serving) or say served half or 3/4th of full and so is the word ‘Cutting’ emerged as local lingo. The concept of cutting chai in Mumbai is very old now and usually started as tea serving business having little funds to start up and survival like any other food stalls. But such tea stalls also proved to be need of time where tea charges are comparatively less, serving is in small quantity and a middle class person can have multiple ‘Cutting chai’ servings adjusting his tea budget of the day. The concept is a boon to many marketing and field executives who needs and prefers tea for refreshment multiple time in a day, Also sharing with other friend.

Cutting Chai Glass
Cutting Chai Glass

DANGER ALERT !!!! Say NO to plastic cups : Although we all enjoy drinking at these Tapri tea stalls of Mumbai, We should take care of NOT DRINKING tea in those little white colored plastic cups. Regular drinking in those cups is bad for health as the heated tea reacts with that low quality plastic used, and as heard it may cause cancer.

Why People Prefer Cutting Tea at Tapri of Mumbai ? : Cutting chai from these small tapri stalls helps them in many ways. They cost lesser to pocket as available in quantity of 50% to 70% less then a full cup which cost anywhere between Rs.7 to Rs.10 compared to Rs.12 to 15 for a full cup of tea. Some funny facts listed below to understand why many / most Mumbai citizens prefers Cutting chai on Tapri’s compared to any Restaurant around.

  • There is something about sipping a fresh made hot chai in that special serving glasses compared to a cups.
  • Small serving, Lesser charges. A cutting chai cost half or 3/4th compared to a full cup of tea.
  • Cheaper compared to Restaurants who adds service taxes and need to tip for every little thing consumed.
  • Hardly any restaurants in Mumbai serve ‘Cutting Chai’ inside, Only Full cup tea allowed. Typical Tea charges at any local restaurant is Rs.25/-
  • Trust me and if you are with me, Flavor of any Cutting chai from a Tapri beats the costly restaurant serving.
  • The fun of sipping hot served fresh cup of hot cutting or full tea in open air, With added health beneficiary like Cardamom, Ginger etc added to it is far more exciting compare to a restaurant experience.
  • Tea and Smoke goes together for many till date, And Smoking is not allowed inside restaurants, So these corners tapri’s are perfect locations for them. (Remember, Smoking Kills ?)
  • Served quickly and so is one of the reasons, Drink quick and get back to work.
  • They do allow credits to adjacent shops and regular customers (You can easily see when around Charni Road markets) One can see them writing notes and accounts in those handy small diaries.
  • Cutting chai is available at every other junctions, corners, gulli and nakas of Mumbai.
  • Yes, its not a classy thing to do. Yet the fun, the taste, the freshness or that ‘Garma Garam Chai’ and that cost comparative is far better. Agree ? (Please comment your Cutting Chai experience below)
  • Sometimes, it a quick small meal option for many. A Cutting chai with vada pav, few cookies, bun maska or biscuits is what helps with low cost option meal inside Mumbai city.

Mumbai Chai Tea Recipe

A Tapri Stall
A Tapri Stall

So, now is the question on How to Make this Chai ? (Strong, Light, Ek Number, Pani Cum are some forms and varieties of same Mumbai style tea) and Answer is with the recipe below :

Recipe to make a Cup of Chai, Mumbai style Tea

  • Start with boiling Half cup of water
  • Add any brand or companies tea (3/4th tea Spoon), 1 Tea Spoon for Stronger flavour (Kadak Chai)
  • Add Sugar (1 or 1 and half spoon)
  • Boil it till bubbles comes, Usually 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add 3/4th cup of Milk now and let it go for next couple of minutes and keep watch else milk will pour out. Keep stirring the tea.
  • Add smashed ginger, a small piece is enough.
  • Add Chai Masala (Ready pack available, like Badshah Chai Masala and other)
  • Just a minute more of stirring and Mumbai’s Cutting Chai is already to serve.


Similarly, more cups can be made. The more you do the Stirring process, the stronger the flavour it becomes. Many people don’t prefer more stirring after adding milk to get that milky flavour of tea.

Video of Mid-Night ‘Bun Maska Chai’ at Churchgate and Borivali Street Stalls

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Deven Jadav

My love towards Mumbai city took me to passion blogging from hobby. Upon quitting job, now i am one of the online city & travel guide since 2007. Hope my efforts helps citizen, foreign nationals & tourists in some or other ways.

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