A Guide to Cutting Chai, the Drink that's Mumbai's Lifeblood

Raghavan Prabhu / Flickr
Raghavan Prabhu / Flickr
Sridevi Nambiar

Like most Indian cities, Mumbai runs on chai. Tea stalls can be found on almost every street, as can crowds of Mumbaikars gathering around for a delicious dose of caffeine. However, a drink unique to Mumbai is cutting chai, a smaller but punchier dose of chai that’s perfect for the busy city-dweller on the go.

Served in tiny paper or Styrofoam cups, cutting chai is usually just a half portion of regular street chai served piping hot from a street-side stall. But why the name “cutting”? The answer will be different depending on who you ask. For most Mumbaikars, the “cutting” relates to the size of the tea, as it is cut, or half size. Others associate “cutting” with the uniquely power-packed flavor and strength of the tea.

Usually a spice-filled concoction, chai always comes with a dose of wellness, thanks to anti-inflammatory ginger and cardamom. Brewed strong with thick milk and usually sweetened to give you a sugar high alongside the caffeine rush, chai from the streetside stalls of Mumbai will almost always cost less than Rs. 10 (US 15 cents); cutting chai can cost as little as Rs. 5.

In most parts of the city, tea comes with a culture of conversation. Whether it is a group of colleagues on a work break or strangers bonding over politics or weather talk, chai stalls in the city are Mumbaikars’ chosen spots for a quick break from their busy days.

While you can find tea stalls in any part of the city, and can gauge their product’s quality by the size of the crowd gathered around, there are a few institutions particularly worth visiting if you are a tea enthusiast. In South Mumbai, head to the 20+ year old Ashok Patil Tea Stall in Crawford Market for a memorable cup. Lucky Tea Stall in Kandivali is a great option if you are looking for a snack with your chai. If you’d like your tea delivered to your doorstep, check out ChotuChaiwala, a new initiative linking chaiwalas (chai vendors) with patrons around the city.

Ashok Patil Tea Stall: Crawford Market, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai

Lucky Tea Stall: Shop No. 1, Opp. Manj majd, S.V. Road, Mumbai 67., Kandiwali West, Mumbai, +91 099673 86071

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.