Project Chaiwala: A Tea Story

Maryam Al Yammahi

Reza Rabaya

The shared love of tea encouraged Emirati national, Ahmed Kazem, and his friend, Indian national, Justin Joseph, to establish Project Chaiwala, a venture that saw light after both of them made a journey to India, and felt that the hot beverage must be served with love, as the Indians do it on their streets.

Kazem and Joseph locate Project Chaiwala in many Dubai events; they believe that with the mobile kiosk, they are bringing to the city ‘a live experience of having tea’, a scene that they witnessed in India.

What about the meaning of chaiwala? Justin explains to Dubai Post: ‘In Hindi, it means the person who makes, serves, or sells tea.

‘When you go to India, you would see many chaiwalas on the streets, either in kiosks or individually, selling different types of tea, and we, understood a comprehensive tea experience there; how it starts in the farms, moving to the streets, then ending up with customers.

‘The trip had an influence on how we positioned our venture, that’s why we are trying to bring a live experience of serving tea here in Dubai, and as we always say: We serve tea from the street to the cup’.

Kazem loves talking about the tea experience he had seen in India too, he adds to what his friend said: ‘We had met tens of chaiwalas, every one of them has a different and unique method in making and serving tea, but the most amazing experience that I remember was when a chaiwala gave handed me tea in a plastic bag and said: There you go!

Kazem and Joseph have different tastes in drinking tea, the first loves adding a lot of sugar - contrary to the latter, however, they both were in consensus about adopting a humanitarian aspect to Project Chaiwala.

‘The supplier that sends to us the potteries we use to serve tea, hire poor women who come from rural areas, with the aim of making them live a better life,’ said Kazim.

‘That encouraged us to instill a charitable goal to our venture and not to look as we only care about profit’.

Dubai Post

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