Kerala’s one-meter chai

Every street worth its name in Kochi has a chayakkada (tea stall) where you can sip a hot cup of Kerala-style tea. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this meter-chai. The tea is thrown through the air to get bubbly. One meter high. Every sip a well-relished and cherished memory.

The making of a meter-chai is precision art. The chaiwalla extends his arms at just the right pace while pouring tea from one cup to another, making sure that not even a single drop is lost to spillage. He stops momentarily when the distance between the two cups becomes exactly one meter and then repeats the process. The most amazing part of this entire exercise is that for a split second when the distance between the containers becomes one meter, all of the beverage lies suspended in the air with nothing in the two vessels. The resultant tea is a perfect blend of ingredients and is topped off by a head of froth that is a distinct trademark of this technique. Simply fascinating!