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About Coffee and Chai Chats

Dark, rich, and savory, coffee and chai warm our bodies, stimulate our minds, and enrich our souls. Tastes are varied and distinct, but a well-crafted brew of either drinks produces similar effects. Each beverage represents a culture, or rather, a set of cultures. Originally discovered in Ethiopia, coffee has become one of the most popular hot beverages on the planet. Chai, Hindi for “tea”, became popular in India due to the British influence, and contains extra spices and ingredients which make it unique to the culture. The inhabitants of most places on the planet offer some variation of these two beverages over which friendships are formed, guests are entertained, weddings are arranged, business deals are developed, and international ties are strengthened. In the West, this encounter might occur in a coffee shop or from a freshly brewed pot of coffee at the home or office. In the East, the exchange is more likely to happen at a tea stall or in someone’s home.

My account name, “Lambamile”(pronounced “lawm-ba” and “mil-lay”), is actually two words meaning “tall” and “woman” in Chakma, a minority language of Southeast Asia. When I lived among the Chakma people, I frequently heard friends call “lambi!” when I strolled passed them on the streets. They would proceed to insist I come over for chai (or as they say “sa”) and biscuits, if not for a plate of rice.

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