Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Shimla is not only a visual treat for tourists but also a paradise for food and beverage enthusiasts. Its thriving cafe culture offers visitors the perfect blend of tranquility and culinary delight. Amidst the lush greenery and colonial architecture, Shimla’s cafes stand out, not just for their ambience but for the range of beverages they offer. One delightful dilemma that every visitor faces is choosing between coffee and chai. In this article, we will explore the best beverages that cafes in Shimla’s have to offer and help you make the perfect choice to complement your time in this charming hill town.

Chai: The Comforting Elixir

Chai, which simply means “tea,” is more than just a beverage in India; it’s a way of life. It’s the comforting elixir that energizes and soothes, and Shimla’s cafes do it justice with an array of options.

  1. Masala Chai: A Spiced Delight

If you’re looking for a warm, aromatic cup of comfort, masala chai should be your go-to choice. This spiced tea is brewed with a blend of aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, and ginger. The result is a cup of tea that not only warms your soul but also tantalizes your taste buds with its unique and invigorating flavor. The masala chai served in Shimla’s cafes is often a well-guarded secret, with each cafe having its own recipe, making it a delightful experience for chai connoisseurs.

  1. Kullad Chai: Embracing Tradition

For an authentic Himachali experience, nothing beats a serving of kullad chai. The term “kullad” refers to the traditional clay cups in which this tea is served. The earthy notes of the clay infuse a distinct flavor into your tea, making it a memorable experience. Sipping on kullad chai while taking in the breathtaking vistas of Shimla’s hills is a sensory delight that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.

  1. Kangra Tea: Local Elegance

Shimla is in close proximity to Kangra, a region renowned for its high-quality tea. When you visit Shimla, you have the opportunity to taste locally sourced Kangra tea, known for its delightful and mild taste. This tea variety is perfect for a leisurely sip while enjoying the panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains. The cafes in Shimla often take pride in serving Kangra tea, providing you with a taste of the region’s tea culture.

Coffee: The Global Indulgence

Shimla’s cafe culture is not confined to tea alone; it’s equally inviting for coffee enthusiasts. Whether you prefer the classic allure of a cappuccino or are seeking something with a local twist, Shimla’s cafes have something to satisfy your cravings.

  1. Cappuccino: A Classic Delight

For those who love the rich, creamy texture of espresso and steamed milk, Shimla’s cafes serve delightful cappuccinos. The gentle bitterness of the espresso, harmoniously combined with the velvety foam, makes every sip a luxurious experience. It’s the perfect choice to kickstart your day or to unwind on a chilly Shimla evening. The cafes’ skilled baristas ensure that the quality and taste of their cappuccinos meet the high standards that coffee enthusiasts expect.

  1. Himalayan Coffee: A Local Twist

If you’re in the mood for something unique and with a local touch, explore the offerings of Himalayan coffee. Some cafes in Shimla offer a distinctive twist on coffee by infusing it with flavors inspired by the Himalayan region. This could include hints of local spices and ingredients, adding depth and character to your cup of coffee. It’s a great option for those seeking an extraordinary coffee experience, far from the ordinary.

  1. Iced Coffee: A Refreshing Choice

On warm summer days in Shimla, when the sun bathes the town in its gentle warmth, there’s nothing more refreshing than a chilled iced coffee. Many cafes in Shimla offer this cooling delight. It’s often flavored with syrups, and some cafes even go the extra mile by adding a scoop of ice cream. This fusion of coffee and ice is a delightful respite from the heat, and it allows you to explore the local cafe culture with a modern and refreshing twist.


Choosing between coffee and chai in Shimla’s cafes ultimately depends on your mood, the season, and your personal preferences. Whether you opt for the comforting warmth of masala chai or the global indulgence of a cappuccino, Shimla’s cafes cater to all tastes. So, while you explore this charming hill station, be sure to indulge in a cup of your favorite beverage. Not only will it enhance your overall experience, but it will also create moments and memories that you’ll cherish long after you’ve left this beautiful town.

Shimla’s cafes, with their distinctive offerings of both coffee and chai, provide a taste of the town’s rich cultural tapestry, where traditional and global influences harmoniously coexist. The cafes themselves often reflect the essence of Shimla, with their blend of history, tradition, and modernity, ensuring that your visit to this hill town is a complete and enriching experience. Whether you choose to sip on a fragrant cup of masala chai or savor a perfectly brewed cappuccino, your journey in Shimla is sure to be accompanied by the delightful aroma of your chosen beverage.