WHAT IS “CHAI”??? “if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are too cold, tea will warm you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you.”
CHAI(pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with “pie”) is the word for tea in many parts of the world. It is a centuries-old beverage which played an important role in many cultures.
Chai from INDIA is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world. It is generally made up of :
AUTHENTIC CHAI RECIPE WITH ADDING NEW FLAVOURS:
Rich black tea
A combination of various spices
Our culture has adapted such good ways to make chai including different herbs and spices which makes it beneficial for the health. The spices used vary from region to region and among households in INDIA. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Indian chai produces a:
Acts as a natural digestive aid and gives one a wonderful sense of well being.
These herbs add such a good taste to chai that it is difficult to resist the second cup.
There is a growing line of prepackaged consumer products. Many industry analyst are predicting that chai will eventually become as popular as coffee lattes and cappuccinos.
In India, “chai” is one of the oldest drinks- the country consumes a whooping 837,000 tonnes of tea every year!
Given how ubiquitous a cup of chai is across India, and how chai drinking transcends all boundaries, it comes as a surprise that not many Indians know about the fascinating history of tea in India.
SO, ON THE 12TH INTERNATIONAL TEA DAY, ENJOY A BEAUTIFUL CUP OF TEA AND APPRECIATE THE ORIGINS OF FAVORITE CUPPA AS WE REVEAL THE STORY OF HOW TEA BECAME AN INEVITABLE PART OF INDIAN LIVES.
“SAUNDHI -SAUNDHI MEHAK KHULADHO KI: CHAI IN KULHADS: MARVELLOUS TASTE”
ORIGIN OF CHAI:
Like the history of any famous beverage, the origins of chai are steeped in legend and contradictory accounts. In ancient India, chai was not the term used for the tea we know today, but for a healing concoction made by brewing herbs and spices, much like the traditional Kada. In fact, the earliest chai did not contain any tea leaves, and its recipes differed according to the seasons and available ingredients.
“CHAI AND KADA ARE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT, BUT THEY ARE LIKE SIBLINGS FROM SINGLE PARENT…”.
Some interesting facts about the history of chai and how it came to India and was known to the people. there are many versions of the story of how the first cup of tea came about in india….
One story goes that chai was developed by accident when a Buddhist monk on his way to China, observed the local ritual of chewing on a few wild leaves and tried it himself. On feeling rejuvenated, he decided to bring it back to India with him. Interestingly, tea is believed to have been first discovered by mistake 500 years ago when the Emperor of China found tea leaves in his pot of boiling water. Known for his scientific curiosity, he proceeded to taste the drink and loved it. Before long, tea became a staple of Chinese culture.
Another legend has it that it was a king in ancient India (most likely Harshvardhan, under whose patronage Nalanda University reached its zenith) who developed chai to remain alert during the court hour. Some historians also believe that Emperor Ashoka too had made it a part of his various peace treaties and court culture, a habit that eventually percolated down to common people.
DUTCH traveler, Jogn Hughen Von Linschoten, who visited India in 1538 AD, corroborated this fact in his account of his visit to India. He wrote:
Indians ate the leaves as a vegetable with garlic and oil and boiled the leaves to make a brew
There is a third legend that Sanjeevani Buti (and its concoction), which brought a comatose Lakshman alive in the Epic Ramayana, is the first chai.
Talking of Assam, the northeastern state has a long historical connection with Tea. Since at least the 12th century, leaves of tea shrubs that grow wild were used as medicine by the SINGHPO tribe in ASSAM. The Singhpo tribe , believed to be among India’s first tea drinkers, still process tea through the traditional centuries-old method, dhooan chaang. The Singhpos believe that a cup of tea of their traditionally brewed tea after every meal aids digestion, and credit it with keeping the community relatively free from cancer and diabetes. Even during the reign of the Ahom kings in Assam, Laal Chaa (a brew made of special wild leaves grown in Assam) was a popular welcome drink in the homes of both, royals and commoners.
#TravelTales: A VISIT TO THE WORLD’S HIGHEST ORGANIC TEA ESTATE WHERE TEA IS STILL MADE BY HAND …
Few more interesting facts which came in front of us after searching and reading the books that tell us about the garam-garam chai!!
Kolukkumalai tea estate has very amazing facts which crave us to know more about it, let’s have a look:
What could be better than sipping a hot cup of fragrant tea on a mist-shrouded mountain that boasts of the highest organic tea plantations in the world? This is exactly what Kolukkumalai Tea Estate offers.
At a height of 7900 ft above sea level, it is the highest tea plantation in the world. In addition, Kolukkumalai’s time-tested tea factory still sticks handmade methods of tea processing.
IT WAS ALSO THE SINGHPO CHIEF, BISA GAM, WHO INTRODUCED TEA TO ENGLISHMAN ROBERT BRUCE AND HIS BROTHER CHARLES IN 1823….
THE SWEET AND MILKY STORY OF CHAI:
TEA HISTORIANS BELIEVE THAT THE FIRST ITERATION OF CHAI WITH MILK WAS DEVELOPED BY TRAVELLERS AND TRADERS MOST LIKELY FROM GUJARAT, MAHARASTRA, AND BENGAL.
With growing cross country trade, sweet milky chai soon became the go-to drink, to sustain a rather long day. Soon, masala chai (chai flavored by aromatic spices) was born and was usually served with a sweet or savory toast, a hybrid of Indian and British tradition.
THANKS TO BRITISH RAJ, THE CONCEPT OF TEA TIME ALSO CAME INTO EXISTENCE.
It’s also worth saying that tea wasn’t an overnight success in India. Each region and community in India took its own time to adopt and adapt tea to its own tastes.
Commercial production of tea began after the conquest of large areas by the BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY, at which point large tracts of land were converted for mass tea production. The widespread popularity of tea as a recreational drink began an earnest in the 1920’s, after a successful advertising campaign by the tea board.
Today, India is one of the largest tea producers in the world, over 70%of its tea is consumed within India itself. A number of renowned teas, such as ASSAM and DARJEELING, also grow exclusively in India.
CTC i.e CUT, TEAR AND CURL METHOD WHO GAVE AN INNOVATION TO PREPARE TEA:
However, it was not until William McKercher invented the CTC(cut, tear, curl) method of making tea, that tea became cheaper and India’s favorite brew became affordable for the masses. With Iranian cafes and coffee.
So it was INDIA’s CTCs that turned an entire generation(and generation thereafter) of Indians into ritual tea drinkers. Strong, flavored, aromatic, or all three together, the CTC blends made and consumed in India are among the best in the world.
INDIAN TEA: TIME TO BE WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
It’s around 4 in the afternoon and people are gently sipping piping hot chai(tea), sometimes accompanied with a biscuit or two, gossiping with family and friends; this is a scene every Indian is familiar with. There is something almost magical about the simple dark-colored drinks that seem to capture the taste buds of us Indians.
The first instance of tea drinking in India dates back to Ramayana, nearly 2000 years ago. After that there is not much mention of tea until the arrival of the BRITISH EAST INDIA company when large tracts of land were devoted to the production of this beverage.
DO YOU KNOW???
‘WITH THE GROWING POPULARITY OF TEA, INDIA BECAME SECOND LARGEST EXPORTER OF TEA……’
A TAPRI CHAI FOR YOUR THOUGHTS !!
It’s almost synonymous with Mumbai- the cutting chai, had piping hot, just enough quantity to invigorate your senses and leave you feeling refreshed..
“CHAI” IS SOMETHING YOU CAN NEVER SAY NOO AND AFTER ALL KADAK HO TO BILKUL BHI NAHI
DEFINITELY HAVE A VISIT FOR THE TAPRI CHAI……
GARMA -GARAM CHAI:MAZAA AAGAYA
The fact that chai is now not just a beverage, but woven into the fabric of this nation is hard to dispute. Today, no matter where you are in India, you’re probably not very far from a chai stall (Tapri), little roadside shacks that go by different names in different parts of the country. Tea sold at these humble outlets is often the cheapest, the most delicious and to start a refreshing day.
So, next time you reach sleepily for your morning cup, or share a version of the brew with your colleague or even stock up on the biscuits you love dunking in your favorite beverage, remember it isn’t just chai you are consuming — it is history, diversity and popular culture, all amalgamated into one cup!