Chai is a staple in the diet of most Indians all across the country. Chai is characterized by its golden, tan color and is a steaming liquid, usually served in small clay pots, known as kulhar in Hindi or bhar in Bengali. is a fan favorite in India. The tradition of drinking ‘chai’ tea in India transcends all boundaries with chai shopping dotting the roadsides. This tea is usually prepared with milk and spices along with sugar and you are bound to find people in groups sharing their evening tea accompanied with laughter, discussions and of course, biscuits. The main spices used often are ginger, cardamom and cloves and is commonly known as masala chai. Many Indians will tell you how ‘chai’ is an emotion and this shows how deeply ingrained tea is in the Indian culture.
Read on to know the 5 best things about Indian chai!
1. Chai anywhere and everywhere
The beauty of Indian Chai lies in its simplicity and in the fact that is available anywhere and everywhere! One simply has to walk 10 steps and they will be greeted with the distinct aroma of chai and following the aroma, they will find a tea stall serving warm cups of tea from a metal kettle in brick colored ceramic cups. The tea stalls or ‘chai ki tapri’ as they are more commonly known, start running from early in the morning and serve customers till late evening with the cost per cup reaching as low as Rs 5 (0.068 USD) and the taste never fails to provide warmth, comfort and a sense of homeliness. Its availability at every nook and corner, every street bend and turn along with extremely affordable prices is what makes it accessible to everyone.
2. So much variety!
The base for Indian chai is traditionally milk, a strong black tea, sugar and water. However, what is so exciting about chai is the various ways you can make it according to your mood and liking! There is masala chai which involves adding some traditional Indian spices such as cardamom, cloves and star anise to the brew to give a spicy twist to the sweet drink. Another variety is ginger chai which as the name suggests, involves adding grated or chopped up ginger to the brew for a refreshing kick to the senses which helps clear the sinuses. People can also experiment with Chai and have it as chai iced tea or cold brew the same (check out our chai cold brew recipe here)
3. Chai is an emotion
If you talk to an Indian, them not mentioning chai is a low possibility because in India, ‘chai’ is an emotion. Chai is often seen as a cure all for everything beginning from stress caused due to college or work to heartbreak. More often than not chai is also a part of daily celebrations like a good grade, a promotion or simply a reward after a tiring day. What makes chai so wonderful is the bonding human experience it brings along with it. There is no better way to end a hectic day with a cup of steaming hot, delicious tea with you friends! People in India and now increasingly all over the world feel strongly about chai not just because of its flavor and aroma but because of the warmth it brings along with. Every sip is like a warm hug on a cold winter day and you can’t help but smile with the cup nestled in your hands.
4. It goes with all seasons
Another winning factor when it comes to chai is its versatility. One can find people sipping chai on a hot summer evening when the weather is humid and sticky and they will also find people sipping chai on a windy monsoon evening with a light drizzle of rain. Another aspect which lends to the versatility of chai as a beverage is that is goes with many accompaniments. On rainy days, it goes perfectly with fried onion rings and other ‘pakodas’ which are essentially meat/egg/vegetables coated in a batter and fried. On cold winter days, it is often paired with hot food and breads like naan bread and on summers it goes wonderfully with street snacks which include puffed rice and dried fruit and nuts. Some other delicious combinations are also chai with scones, pastries and popcorn!
5. Health and taste, all in one!
Not only is India’s favorite cup of chai absolutely delicious, it is also good for your health. It wakes you up sufficiently while deliver much less amount of caffeine in the morning compared to a regular cup of coffee. It is also associated with good heart health and improving digestion. It can support your immune system and when paired with spices and additions like ginger, turmeric or clove, it can help alleviate nausea, relieve aches and pains and deliver nutrients.
All in all, chai is a wonderful beverage. Wondering how to make your own Masala chai tea at home? Shop the Indian Masala Tea from our store for a delicious and aromatic experience that will bring you closer to the warm and jovial spirit of India during these tough times.
Tell us why you like chai in the comments below!