Chai – Spicy Tea Enjoyment From India
Masala Chai is considered the national drink in India. The word masala stands for mixture – in this context to be understood as a mixture of spices. Chai is translated as tea, so masala chai describes a tea with a mixture of spices. This always includes additional milk and sugar.
Originally, black tea was mainly used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian healing art. When the British East India Company promoted the cultivation of tea in Assam and exported it to Great Britain, the Indian Tea Association was formed, which also wanted to spread tea as a beverage for consumption in India. This was encouraged, among other things, by the initiative that encouraged workplaces of the time to offer tea breaks for their employees. As a result, tea was drunk more frequently and people in India began to drink it outside of work. In the process, the preparation continued to change.
At first, it was drunk according to the British way, namely with a little addition of sugar and milk. But soon more and more milk and additional spices found their way into the popular drink. From this infusion of tea and the subsequent refinement with milk and spices, a wide variety of variants were developed. One of the still popular preparation methods is that the tea is prepared together with the spices in a mixture of water and milk.
Masala Chai spread from India throughout the world. The spiced tea is very popular in Qatar and East Africa, for example, where it is drunk with lots of milk and spices, similar to the Indian way of preparation. In Europe and America, chai has also gained popularity. Here, the tea is often infused directly with the spices. You can experience this full-bodied taste, for example, with the playful Chai tea blends of our country teas. Adding milk to chai also gets a new name outside of Asia and Africa: Chai Latte!
There is no such thing as one chai recipe. Rather, each family has developed its own preparation, so that each tea tastes a little different from house to house. Typical spices are star anise, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and fennel seeds, pepper, chili, cloves and many other spices are also popular.
In western India, however, cloves and pepper are deliberately avoided. Likewise, different milk is used in different regions; traditionally, water buffalo milk is used almost everywhere in India, while goat’s milk is preferred in the northeast. In Europe and America, cow’s milk, almond milk and soy milk are very popular. What and how much the chai is sweetened with also varies. Any kind of sugar can be used, as well as honey, agave syrup or syrup. Often, tea drinkers are free to sweeten their tea themselves.
Try out your own chai blend. Brew your favorite tea from TEEKANNE, bring out your spices and experiment. Everything you like is allowed in Masala Chai.