India proudly claims the second-largest tea producer title, as revealed in a comprehensive survey by IBEF. Picture this: the cozy ambiance of “Tea Stalls” has stolen hearts and become the go-to hangout for many. It’s not just a beverage, it’s our day’s invigorating Kickstarter. Whether it’s an office meeting or a heart-to-heart chat, tea plays a pivotal role. It’s a necessity, woven into the fabric of our lives. And for ambitious chai startup, it’s a golden opportunity waiting to be seized!
Today, we embark on an exciting journey through the world of chai startups, racing to discover who’s leading the pack.
Grab your cuppa and join us!
A Brief History of Tea
Tea transcends being just a beverage; it holds a special place in the hearts of Indians. Originating from China and introduced by the British, tea has woven itself into the very fabric of our culture. In 2018, National Chai Day was established to honor this cherished and healthful drink. It’s a day when people share various tea blends with loved ones, whether as a warm welcome to guests or a moment for families to bond over a steaming cup.
Let’s briefly look at the history of tea-
|Year||A milestone in the History of Tea|
|2737 BCE||Legend attributes tea discovery to Emperor Shen Nong in China.|
|1823 AD||The first tea saplings were planted in Assam by British colonialist Robert Bruce.|
|1835 AD||A more extensive tea plantation experiment took place in Assam under the guidance of Charles Alexander Bruce.|
|1839 AD||The first Indian tea was sent to the UK for auction, marking the beginning of Indian tea exports.|
|1859 AD||The Assam Tea Company, the first commercial tea company, was established.|
|1863 AD||Darjeeling witnessed its first tea plantation, paving the way for the famous Darjeeling tea.|
|1888 AD||The Indian Tea Association (ITA) was founded to promote and regulate the tea industry.|
|1903 AD||The Indian Tea Board was established to oversee tea production and export standards.|
|1947 AD||India gained independence, leading to changes in the tea industry, including land reforms and labor rights.|
|1953 AD||The Tea Act was enacted, regulating aspects of tea production, pricing, and export.|
|1956 AD||The Tea Research Association was formed to enhance tea cultivation and processing methods.|
|1964 AD||The Dooars and Terai regions of West Bengal became prominent tea-producing areas.|
|Present||India is the second-largest tea producer globally and known for its diverse tea varieties.|
Beyond its cultural significance, chai boasts numerous health benefits, serving as a rich source of antioxidants, aiding digestion, and offering relief from colds. India, standing as the world’s second-largest tea producer and fourth-largest tea exporter, presents a lucrative market, inspiring a wave of innovative startups in recent years to explore fresh ideas and opportunities.
Leading Chai Startups in India
Just like any business startup, there are fundamental criteria to address, including identifying your target audience, market exploration, competitor analysis, and more. These enterprising individuals behind the new chai startups in India are bound to impress with their innovative tea-related concepts and strategies for building profitable and sustainable enterprises.
The following table provides the list of Chai Startups that are leading the race among Chai lovers in India. These Chai startups are associated with selling beverages in drinkable form i.e. Cafes. Hence, excludes the e-commerce tea startups.
We have ranked them based on their valuation as per the latest data-
|Chaayos||$75 million||$53 million|
|Chai Point||$68.9 million||$68.5 million|
|Chai Sutta Bar||$12 million||N/A|
|Tpot Café||$4 million||$805 thousand|
|Tea Trails||$2.65 million||$1 million|
|Chai Thela||$1.27 million||$218 thousand|
Now, let’s deep dive into them one by one.
The Chai startup- Chaayos, a renowned player in the chai industry, emerged from the vibrant streets of Delhi. Established in 2012 by Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma, this innovative startup empowers patrons to craft their own signature brews. This distinct approach has propelled Chaayos ahead of its tea-focused counterparts. With an extensive presence exceeding 200 outlets throughout India, Chaayos has dominated the chai cafe landscape in the country.
|Chai Startup Name||Chaayos|
|Unique Offering||Customizable chai brewing|
|No. of Outlets||Over 200 outlets across India|
|Latest Funding||$53 million|
|Prime Investors||Tiger Global Management,|
Alpha Wave Ventures
|Special Chai Flavours||Black pepper, |
|Mission||Providing personalized tea experiences|
The brand’s engagement with its audience on social media platforms has resulted in a substantial following, contributing to its estimated $75 million brand value. In 2022, Chaayos secured $53 million in Series C funding, with Alpha Wave Ventures leading the investment charge and Tiger Global Management as the primary investor. Serving the Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, and Faridabad (Delhi NCR) regions, Chaayos satisfies thousands of tea enthusiasts daily, earning a stellar reputation in its host cities.
Chaayos’ core mission revolves around delivering personalized tea experiences, recognizing that every Indian has their own unique tea preferences, often referred to as ‘Meri Wali Chai.’ Their distinctive flavors encompass black pepper, rose cardamom, Mirchi, and mint-infused chai, solidifying Chaayos’ rapid ascent in the industry.
2. Chai Point
Founded in 2010 by Amuleek Singh Bijral, Chai Point is a leading tea startup in India with 150+ outlets in six cities. They offer diverse tea options, including hot, iced, shakes, and snacks. Notable for swift chai deliveries and investment of $56.6 million, Chai Point, headquartered in Bengaluru, has evolved into a successful tea cafe chain. Unique features include a separate smoking area and a commitment to 30-minute deliveries. Recent funding of $10 million highlights their growth. They also provide chai and coffee dispensers.
|Chai Startup Name||Chai Point|
|Founder||Amuleek Singh Bijral|
|Number of Outlets||Over 150 in six Indian cities|
|Tea Varieties||Hot tea, Iced tea, Shakes, Tea snacks|
|Funding Received||$56.6 million|
|Notable Investors||8 Road Ventures,|
|Unique Features||Separate smoking section outside the café|
Swift chai delivery within 30 minutes
Offering chai and coffee dispensers
|Expansion Plans||16 outlets in Delhi/NCR region|
Expansion into Mumbai and Bangalore
Plans to establish kiosks at major metro stations
With 16 outlets in Delhi/NCR, Chai Point aims to expand to Mumbai and Bangalore, including metro station kiosks, challenging industry giants.
3. Chai Sutta Bar
Anubhav Dubey and Anand Nayak initially aimed for government services but later found that they were fit for something more amazing. And through strategic planning, they launched “Chai Sutta Bar.”
The co-founders shared a dream of entrepreneurship, leading them to launch “Chai Sutta Bar“ with Rs.3 lakh in the capital. Their bike journeys highlighted the universal love for chai, particularly among the 18-36 age group. Strategically locating their business near a girls’ hostel drew a youthful crowd. Serving chai in traditional Kullhad cups, starting with “Chocolate Chai” at Rs 7, set them apart. Their commitment to Kullhad reduced plastic use and supported 1,500 potter families.
|Chai Startup Name||Chai Sutta Bar|
|Founders||Anubhav Dubey Anand Nayak|
|Business Venture||Started “Chai Sutta Bar”|
|Capital Investment||Approximately Rs.3 lakh|
|Valuation||$12 million(Rs.100 crore)|
|Key Observations||Discovered widespread love for chai, |
especially among ages 18-36
|Customer Attraction Strategy||Invited friends to create a bustling |
atmosphere to draw in customers.
|Unique Serving Method||Introduced traditional Kullhad cups for |
chai serving, starting with “Chocolate Chai”
|Environmentally Friendly||Reduced plastic use by using Kullhad cups|
|Support for Potters||Ordered about 93 lakh Kullhad cups monthly, |
providing employment to 1,500 potter families
|Chai Variety||Offers various chai flavors, including Adrak Chai, |
Chocolate Chai, Masala Chai, and more
|Growth & Expansion||Valued at 100 crores with outlets across |
70 cities in India, as well as locations
in Muscat and Dubai.
Chai Sutta Bar offers various chai flavors and has grown into a Rs.100-crore business with a presence in 70 Indian cities, as well as Muscat and Dubai.
4. Tpot Café
This is one of the famous Chai Café chains in India that leads the race among chai lovers. Let’s look at the key info of this chai startup. Tpot Cafe, founded in 2013 in New Delhi by Asad Khan, Robin Jha, Abhay Bansal, and Atit Verma, has grown to around 40 outlets in the Delhi region. Their goal is to tap into the Rs 33,000 crore tea market, offering unique teas like hibiscus, chamomile, and saffron, along with snacks. Notable investor Ashish Gupta is involved, and Tpot Cafe primarily serves Delhi-NCR.
|Chai Startup Name||Tpot Café|
Robin Jha (CEO),
|Headquarters||New Delhi, India|
|Key Investors||Ashish Gupta, co-founder Evalueserve|
|Operating Cities||Delhi NCR|
|Expansion Plans||Opening two new outlets in Connaught |
Place and aiming for further growth in
the tea market.
|Tea Offerings||Hibiscus tea, chamomile tea, saffron tea, |
masala chai, and more.
|Success Factors||Diverse tea selection, affordable pricing, |
and a range of complementary snacks
Founder Robin Jha left a high-paying job to create this venture, now marked by its 20th Chai Nashta café in Connaught Place, known for its diverse tea selection and affordable snacks, establishing it as a successful tea startup in India.
5. Tea Trails
Established in 2013 by Kavita Mathur and Uday Mathur, Tea Trails stands as a cafe chain headquartered in Mumbai. It emerged as a pioneering force in India’s tea cafe landscape during an era. When no structured tea cafe franchise existed in the nation.
|Chai Startup Name||Tea Trails|
|Founder||Kavita Mathur and Uday Mathur|
|Specialties||Pioneering tea cafe chain in India.|
Offers a diverse selection of 80+ tea varieties.
Includes popular classics like “Gud wali chai”
|Location||50+ cafes across India|
Today, Tea Trails boasts an impressive repertoire of over 80 tea selections, featuring beloved classics such as Gud wali chai alongside inventive blends. With a network of 50+ cafes spanning India, Tea Trails has firmly established itself as a formidable brand within the country.
6. Chai Thela
The Chai startup- Chai Thela, founded in 2014 by Pankaj Judge and Nitin Chaudhary in Delhi, stands out for its commitment to simplicity. They serve tea in its purest form, reminiscent of the traditional “thellas” or street stalls. With a focus on 25 carefully selected tea varieties, including the popular ginger-infused chai, Chai Thela provides high-quality tea at budget-friendly prices in hygienic conditions.
|Chai Startup Name||Chai Thela|
|Founders||Pankaj Judge and Nitin Chaudhary|
|Key Investor||Quarizon Venture|
|Operating Cities||Delhi NCR|
|USP (Unique Selling Point)||Simplicity in serving tea|
|Tea Varieties||25 types, including the |
popular “adrak wali chai”
|Expansion Plans||Expanding to urban hubs |
like Ahmedabad and Delhi
|Outlets||Six outlets in the NCR region|
|Daily Footfall||500-600 cups per outlet|
Despite facing the usual challenges of entrepreneurship, including setbacks and investor reluctance, Chai Thela has thrived. Today, it operates numerous tea kiosks across Delhi NCR, with six outlets and 500-600 daily customers per outlet. The brand’s future plans include expansion into urban hubs like Ahmedabad and Delhi.
7. Chaipatty Teafe
The Chai startup- Chaipatty Teafe was established in 2010 by its founder, Chirag Yadav, with its headquarters located in Bangalore, Karnataka. Unlike many startups that rely on external funding, Chaipatty Teafe is self-funded. The business operates exclusively in Bangalore.
Chirag Yadav, the founder, is not only an electronics and communication engineer but also a versatile individual who has brought diversity to his business. The idea for Chaipatty Teafe was inspired by the splendid weather in Bangalore and the supportive environment for new ventures in the city. Chirag’s career journey included working in marketing roles at various multinational corporations before deciding to venture into entrepreneurship.
|Chai Startup’s Name||Chaipatty Teafe|
Before launching Chaipatty, Chirag explored different paths, including becoming a Salsa instructor and establishing a branding and social media marketing firm. These experiences eventually led to the creation of Chaipatty Teafe, which has become one of the country’s most promising tea startups. Chaipatty Teafe operates four ‘Teafes’ in Bangalore, each offering the renowned Handmade Kullad tea known for its traditional authenticity.
Beyond serving tea, Chaipatty Teafe also serves as an art store that welcomes customers with a captivating classic ambiance. This ambiance reflects the rich cultural heritage passed down through generations in India.
In the fiercely competitive landscape of Chai startups in India, one name has consistently risen above the rest, and that name is Chaayos. As of now, Chaayos stands as the undisputed leader among Chai lovers. Many chai startup have captured the hearts and taste buds of Chai enthusiasts. With its innovative approach to serving traditional Chai in contemporary settings, diverse menu offerings, and a strong presence across the country.
The chai startups’ commitment to quality, customization, and embracing the rich tapestry of flavors that Chai represents has made it the winner in the race among Chai startups. As Chai continues to weave its cultural significance, Chaayos remain at the forefront, delivering the perfect cup of Chai to its loyal patrons!