Did you know? Our current Prime Minister, Mr.Narendra Modi once sold tea at Vadnagar station, Gujrat.
Chai, as we call it or Tea as the world calls it is an inevitable part of the life of most Indians. It is the heart of every household and is undoubtedly the most famous beverage throughout India. You can find it in every nook and corner of the country. It is a welcome drink in India. From an elite five-star hotel to a roadside stall, one thing is common in the menu and that is “Chai”. It is a part of our everyday life, some people need it the moment they wake up and some need it throughout the day. It is a part of every event of the Indian household, be it a heated political discussion, a social gathering or a party with friends. But there is not much known about the wonder drink by everyone, let us enlighten you with these 20 facts about chai we are sure you did not know:
1. The “Masala Chai” translates to spice tea and though its origins are debatable, it is believed to be originated some 5000 years ago by an Emperor of China who saw tea leaves brewing in hot water, he tasted it and loved it, hence discovering tea. Another popular theory is that King Harshvardhana of the Gupta Empire, a great philanthropist (he patronized the Nalanda University) developed chai to get through the long hours of courtroom discussions. This habit then further trickled down to the common people.
2. Earlier, people mainly drank chai in sickness due to its health benefits, but it gradually became an inseperable part of the Indian culture. The chai is considered to be Ayurvedic because of the presence of healing herbs and spices in it like Basil, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Rose petals, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mint leaves etc.
3. The early name for Masala Chai was ‘Kadha’ which means medicine in Hindi.It was considered a magical drink that could cure communicable diseases like sore throat, cold and fever.It was also considered as an immunity booster because of the presence of spices like cinnamon, white pepper, ginger and cardamom.
4. The Masala Chai can beat fatigue, hangover. It help in softening chapped lips and also prevent ovarian and lung cancer. The anti-oxidant properties of this Indian Masala Chai also help in aiding digestion, fighting anxiety, depression and diabetes(if you drink without sugar). It is quite a wondrous drink, what do you think?
5. The difference between ‘Indian Masala Chai’ and normal tea is that the former is brewed with both water and milk and the latter is just brewed with water, and also called ‘Black tea’. The black tea is quite popular in the western countries and was popularized by the Britishers during their colonization.
6. Mostly buffalo or cow milk is used to make Masala Chai but some people also use goat or soy milk now. As the world now rushes towards vegan options, people are going to healthier options like unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk. They are high on the pocket, but are definitely healthy for you and the environment.
7. India’s production of tea in the world is second highest, 70% of which is consumed within the country. The largest producer of tea in the world is China. India produces of 1,135,070 tonnes of tea whereas China produces a whopping 1,804,655 tonnes of tea.Both these countries have long history of cultural attachment with the beverage.
8. Tea is generally divided based on where it grows and the way it is processed. There are various varieties of tea in India, Assam tea, Darjeeling tea, Terai tea, Munnar tea, Kangra tea, Nilgiri tea, Karnataka tea etc.Tea needs a lot of moisture hence the wetter the area, the better is the tea.This is why best tea is grown in the foothills of Himalayas i.e north-eastern regions of India.
9 The most precious tea is grown in Darjeeling, West Bengal. It is considered to be world’s best tea because of its growing techniques which were borrowed by the East India Company from China in the 1800s.It is one of the most expensive teas and is only produced in single batches.
Interesting, right? Well, that’s how special the Indian Masala Chai is.It’s not just a drink for India, it’s a wholesome cup of values, cultures, traditions, nature and family. It's spicy and sweet all at the same time. You must be craving for a cup now, right? Here is a small recipe for you to have the best Masala Chai:
First prepare the masala for the chai, in a mixer, grind cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, elaichi and mint leaves. Now transfer the mixture to a saucepan of boiling water. Add grated ginger to add a zest to its taste. Add sugar as per your preference. You can also sweeten the tea with honey or jaggery. Then add milk and bring the mixture to boil. Add the tea and let it boil. This is when you can smell the aroma of the tea and masala blending into the sugary milk water. Remove the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. Now pour the hot tea into teacups carefully.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing wonder called masala chai.