The Chai Bar: A taste of India in Calgary

When ordering chai, there is no need to say 'tea' as chai means tea in Hindi

GO-TO DRINK: Jazz Hundal drinks his favourite tea, ginger chai, at The Chai Bar in northeast Calgary. (Photo by Karan Randhawa/The Press)

The Chai Bar is helping the Indian community in Calgary bring a taste of India for those missing home.

By serving authentic chai, the cafe in northeast Calgary allows new immigrants to feel at home. In India, chai is served multiple times a day, for several occasions. When ordering chai, there is no need to say “tea,” as chai means “tea” in Hindi.

The Chai Bar owner Jagdeep Singh missed home a lot when he first moved to Calgary. After gaining some stability, he decided to create something that would unite Indians in Calgary and invite others to try their culture.

“A year-and-a-half ago, I was at Tim Horton’s and drinking steeped tea and I got the idea of opening a tea store and named it The Chai Bar,” said Singh.

“It took me lots of time and hard work to build this business but today, when I see my community people enjoying the taste-of-home tea, it’s all that I wanted.”

CHAI ORDER: A glass of chai outside of The Chai Bar in northeast Calgary. 
(Photo by Karan Randhawa/The Press)

Due to a busy lifestyle, people here in Calgary are not able to keep their Indian culture alive. In India, chai is gesture of love and respect.

Chai is also taken in India as to help reduce nausea and improve digestion, if someone is having headache, stomachache, or even if they are tired from a long day of trip chai always make it better.

Jazz Hundal a daily costumer of The Chai Bar says he got the closest taste to Indian chai at the bar and it reminds him of the tea his mother would prepare for him.

“It feels like home,” said Hundal. “When I was in India, I used to drink the same tea at my house.

“My mom made the ginger tea and I tried so many times in Canada but I never find the taste similar to my home, so The Chai Bar was the only place where I found the similar taste. It was not exactly like my mom make but that was satisfactory for me.”

The Chai Bar uses traditional ways to make and serve tea for their customers, says Singh

“We have a steam coffee machine for the same taste and also, we buy Indian spices and tea from Indian grocery stores and serve it in glass cups,” he said.

The purpose of the bar, says Singh, is to help the Indian community stay connected to their roots and keep their culture alive with just a cup of chai tea.

About Karan Randhawa 1 Article
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Karan Randhawa is working as a writer for The Press in 2023.