“If tea spread to your country by sea, you call it ‘tea’. If by land, you call it chai.
(*This is because the ports of Fujian and Taiwan use the coastal pronunciation ‘te’, whereas Mandarin uses chá.)”
in some parts of East London and nearby areas of England (which have also historically had strong ties with both South and East Asia) "a cup of char" (sometimes shortened to to a "cuppa") was common slang and is still heard when those of late middle age and seniors are talking: Younger people usually drink "tea" unless they are psy-trance loving hippies 😆 where "chai" is used for certain special varieties..
(from HongKong news)
@valerauko There was probably an existing beverage with similar properties or they used the attributes of it to name it
There’s “Mormon tea”, which is made from the ephedra plant. In Chinese, it’s “mahuang” meaning hemp yellow, which is the shade of the plant and the drink