Thanks for your reply!
I need to recalibrate my ears, then. I thought it was closer to the (hipster-)English chai.
The pronunciation of чай in the wiki site ("chai") is different from Duo's ("che"). "Chai" is also what I hear from other sites. Can admin please confirm if the audio is indeed correct? I'm using the PC app.
I heard "che" too. I guessed it must be "чай" only because I don't know what else it could be, but it's not how I was taught it (chai)
If you are hearing "che," as I am, that is a problem with the audio. The moderators just don't have the ability to fix the audio.
чай is pronounced just as it's spelled (rhymes with pie, cry, rye, and high). This word for tea is pronounced the same way in many other languages, and English borrowed it for the Indian-style spiced-tea-and-milk drink that is now so popular in US coffee shops, hipster or otherwise.
(scroll down for audio file)
I took Russian with 18 different Russian teachers (I'm here to refresh). It's chai not che. As someone else said, it sounds like pie or shy. Not hay or day. The audio is incorrect.
Does the чай here rhyme with pie or pronounced like the hindi "chai". The hindi chai stresses the 'a'.
Why should it be? The word for tea is "чай". There's no reason for it, it's just how it is. It's like asking why the English word is "tea" and not, say, "teo".