Chaayos is an Indian chai brand that boasts “more than 80,000 customizations”. That number seems surprisingly large, so I did some basic math to see what allows them to make such a tall claim.

Looking at the menu and selection, it quickly becomes clear that constraints on ingredient selection leads to these many combinations.

Here is the breakdown of the options, that are mutually exclusive:

• Size: Mini / Choti / Badi
• Sugar: Yes / No
• Patti (Leaves): Kadak / Regular
• Milk: Full / Regular / Doodh Kum / Paani Kum

Since you can only pick one option from each of the above, we arrive at the following calculation:

$3×2×2×4=48$

This is nowhere close to the 80k number. Plus the three options related to size stretch the definition of customization. The real number blowup comes from the the list of addons, from which you can select as many (or as little) as you want:

1. Tulsi (Basil)
3. Elaichi (Cardamom)
4. Saunf (Fennel)
5. Laung (Cloves)
6. Cinnamon
7. Masala (Spices)
8. Kali Mirch (Black Pepper)
9. Mint
10. Ajwain (Carom Seeds)
11. Hari Mirch (Green Chilli)
12. Moti Elaichi (Black Cardamom)
13. Haldi (Turmeric)

Unlike the previous options, these are not mutually exclusive, this means that you can potentially order a chai with all the thirteen addons. I’m not sure how that would taste or whether they would actually add all of them if you did order it. Regardless, let’s look at the math. Each addon is two possibilities since it is a “checkbox”. This allows us to simply use a power of 2:

${2}^{13}\text{addons}=8192\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{choices}$

That’s a large number! Multiplying it with the previous number, we get:

$3\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{sizes}×2\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{sugar}×2\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{patti}×4\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{milk}×{2}^{13}\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{addons}=393216\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{choices}$

Which is much larger than the 80k figure. Even if we remove the size based ‘customization’, it comes down much closer to the quoted figure:

$2\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{sugar}×2\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{patti}×4\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{milk}×{2}^{13}\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{addons}=131072\phantom{\rule{thickmathspace}{0ex}}\text{choices}$

Some people would not really call “sugar” a customization, so we can get rid of that too:

This is much closer to the 80k figure we see quoted. I’m still not sure why they claim 80k+, when they can claim any of the nice powers of 2 as the possible customizations.

I personally prefer No Sugar, Kadak, Regular with Adrak and Elaichi. Although I sometimes miss a jaggery option, which would make the sugar option take three possible values.