Tea – a homely staple and not one just revered by the Brits. With almost 850,000 tons of the warm beverage being consumed by India’s population every year, it is the country’s most popular drink.
While Brits tend to focus on a traditional English breakfast tea, paired with milk, sugar and a scone, India focuses on its sweetened beverages, such as chai, ginger and cardamom. Traditional Masala chai tea is a mixture of black tea, with Indian spices and herbs. You can expect to find it served on the street at chai stalls and roadside shacks.
As part of our Imperial Rajasthan experience, Luxury Gold Vacations offers an exclusive High Tea in the usually private quarters of Jaipur’s City Palace. Inspired by the trip, we decided to find out more about this esteemed drink, its health benefits and more about where it all began:
- Despite the fact tea drinking started in China over 5,000 years ago, it is most commonly consumed in India.
- Though tea plants have grown in North Eastern India for centuries, it was traditionally used as an herbal medicine as opposed to being consumed for pleasure.
- Tea is the state drink of Assam in North Eastern India, an area found south of the eastern Himalayas.
- Chai tea is a staple offering in India, though it was only commercially introduced to the country by the British in the 19th century, in an attempt to break up the Chinese monopoly on tea.
- Tea is India’s second largest industry, beaten only by tourism.
- Common ingredients of chai tea include black tea, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, clove and black pepper.
- Traditionally, water buffalo milk is added to make chai tea.
- Don’t feel guilty about your daily dose of chai. This tasty treat can help reduce the risk of heart disease and aid digestion. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and can reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
- Tea doesn’t just aid you internally, it can also be used as a natural mosquito repellent – ideal for a quick-thinking traveler.
- The phrase “chai-pani” literally translates to “tea and water” and is an offering to welcome guests with at your home.
- Darjeeling is one of the world’s most highly prized teas and is widely considered the “champagne of tea.” It is grown in Bengal.