Hyderabad : Iran chai, an integral part of Hyderabadi culture, has become dearer owing to escalating cost of raw materials, wages of workers and rentals. The price of cup tea rose to Rs 14 from Rs 12.

“We are forced to hike the price, after three years,” said a hotel owner.

“The rental has been heavy on us. Further, the cost of raw materials such as milk, sugar, tea powder, etc., rose considerably during the past four years. We have no option but to increase tea price,” said an Irani café owner at Afzalgunj.

Irani chai has become a part of the 'must-do’ list of visitors to Hyderabad. Students chat over a cup of tea, sharing one-by-two or even one-by-three.

“Who can forget the lovely combination of Iran chai and Osmania biscuit? The combination has been ruling the city for over decades and is patronised by students. Professionals and businessmen, not to forget the daily wage workers, beggars and the elite sections,” says Abdul Gafar, a resident of Charkaman.

Settlers from Iran started the tea selling business in Hyderabad. Thus, the name Irani chai.

However, it is gradually disappearing from several streets of Hyderabad. The main reason is a phenomenal surge in operational cost as roadside hotels are not viable amid rising rentals and property values.

Further competition from global brands such as Coffee Days, Baristas and several roadside kiosks are forcing Irani cafes to close shop. Barring a few Irani cafes in Secunderabad and some parts of Hyderabad, the culture remains active in the Old City.

"The days are gone. Who has time to spend hours sitting in a restaurant? Now, people are busy with their work or on Smartphones. On the other hand, running an Irani cafe with spacious halls is not viable in the cost-driven market," said the hotel owner.

Sreenivasa Rao Dasari

Dasari Sreenivasa Rao is a freelance journalist with 26 years of mainstream media experience in Hyderabad and Dubai. He was Business Editor at The Pioneer and Spl Correspondent at Deccan Chronicle and The Hans India. Earlier, he worked for prestigious media brands including ToI, Indian Express (Bombay) and SPG Media and Business Standard in Hyderabad. NSE-qualified Dasari specializes in derivatives trading. He was visiting faculty at IGNOU and handled two batches of journalism students. Dasari is passionate about business journalism and always suggests all to practice rigorous meditation that ensures peace of mind and helps in moving up the value chain.

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