Masala chai next to beans
You Don't Need To Say 'Chai Tea' When Ordering It At A Cafe
By Lorien Crow
Throughout the last 20 years, chai has surged in popularity around the globe, especially in Western cultures — but many don’t know that saying "chai tea" is technically incorrect.
Saying "chai tea" is redundant, since chai means "tea" in Hindi, so you’re basically saying “tea tea.” You wouldn't place an order for "pasta spaghetti" or "queso cheese."
When chai first made its way to menus in North America, many companies listed the beverage as "chai tea" or a "chai tea latte" on their menus, which is why many people say it.
While this may have been an indicator of what the beverage contained, chai is almost as ubiquitous in the west as it is in India, so it's long past time to drop the extra word.