Chai Sutta Bar opens first outlet in Chennai

TE Raja Simhan Updated on October 15, 2021
Anubhav Dubey

Today, about 200 outlets of CSB operate in nearly 60 cities in India

Anubhav Dubey, 26, a B.Com graduate from Rewa, a small village in Indore in Madhya Pradesh, wanted to become a bureaucrat but ended up becoming a successful ‘chaiwala’ (tea seller) spreading the taste of ‘kulhad’ (clay cup) tea across India.


With ₹2 lakh investment from his friends, in July 2016 he started Chai Sutta Bar (CSB) in Indore. Today, about 200 outlets of CSB (195 run by franchisees) operate in nearly 60 cities in India, and in Dubai and Muscat, sell nearly 3 lakh cups of tea every day.

“The outlets’ cumulative turnover is nearly ₹100 crore, with the company’s turnover being around ₹6 crore,” said Dubey. The start-up has even on-boarded two graduates from IIM for marketing and one from IIT Delhi as Chief Technology Officer.

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“I first tried my hands on CA and later UPSC but failed and wanted to become entrepreneur. After travelling across Indore to see what sells, tea topped the list. Along with my friends Anand and Rahul, we opened the first outlet strategically outside the girl’s hostel as we knew more men would visit the outlet to have tea with the hostel being a strong attraction. No customers came on the first day, but word spread, and people flocked from the second day with the outlet today selling over 10,000 cups of tea every day,” Dubey told BusinessLine on the opening of the CSB’s first outlet in Chennai (at Gopalapuram) on Friday.

The rich legacy of ‘kulhad’ gradually lost and “chai” took a backseat. Keeping that in mind, the concept of offering ‘kadak’ (hard) chai on the bar table with no ‘sutta (sip) breaks’, hygienic and eco-friendly chai was born,” said Dubey, Co-founder, CSB.

“The idea of serving chai in kulhad’s spread like wildfire, attracting individuals from all walks of life. Over 3 lakh kulhads are used every day. We wanted to help thousands of pottery makers. As we keep expanding, we will require close to 5 lakhs of kulhads every day,” he said.

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“In two years, we want to be there in every city with immediate expansion planned in Assam and Kerala. We have also given over 50 licenses in the US, UK and Canada,” he said. “When somebody sips the tea in our kulhad abroad, they will feel hamara Desh ki Mitti (soil of India). Our mission is to use soil-based kulhads to protect our Mother Earth from dangerous plastic toxins. CSB procures tea from Assam and blends with its own masala and supplies to all the outlets. “Our chocolate tea is a big hit,” he added.

Dubey is not worried about competition. He said that next to water, tea is the highest consumed beverage in India. However, tea consumption is still very low when compared to other countries and ranked 28th in the world. The per capita tea consumption is 0.78 kg per year against 3.2 kg in Turkey, 2.4 kg in Libya and 1.68 in the UK. “Even if there are over 100 brands like ours, there will still be demand for tea,” he said.

Published on October 15, 2021