Hyderabad’s most preferred beverage, Irani Chai, now costs Rs.10 a cup. Most of the hotels across the city have increased the price from Rs.8 a cup to Rs.10 in the last one month.

The price rise is inevitable in view of the sharp increase in the rates of tea powder, milk and sugar in the last few months, say hotel owners. This apart, the jump in wages of workers and power bills has left hoteliers no other option.

However, a few hotels have increased just one rupee, charging Rs.9 a cup.

Mohammed Saleem, president, Twin Cities Hotel Owners Association, says, “An increase in prices of tea powder, milk and sugar forced the price hike.”

Tea powder saw a hike of Rs.20 a kg, sugar between Rs.400 and Rs.600 a quintal while milk prices have gone up by Rs.2 to Rs.4 a litre.

The increase in prices of commercial cooking gas is also one of the reason, they say.

In fact, in the last couple of years, the price of tea has been increased at least three times. Until a couple of years ago, a cup of ‘Irani Chai’ was priced at Rs.6 in most hotels. The price was hiked to Rs.7 and subsequently Rs.8.

And now the jump of Rs.2 leaving the ‘chai’ lovers high and dry.

Interestingly, the hotels in Secunderabad have not increased the price.

Tough competition

The tough competition from the small tea stalls that dispense the tea at a cheaper price is the reason. “We are somehow managing it. But it would be difficult if the prices of ingredients used in preparing the tea keep inflating,” says a manager of a popular restaurant in Secunderabad.

However, the increase in prices has not had made a major impact on the business. “The price hike has not affected the business but people are unhappy with the increase,” Mohammed Irfan of Hotel Shah Ghouse says.

One-by-two tradition

Never out of fashion, the one-by-two ‘chai’ tradition may now gain more patronage considering the steep rise in its price.

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