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Chai is an integral part of the rhythm of life in India.

Most Indians start their day with a warm cup of chai tea, but it is more than just a cup of tea, it is a feeling that cheers you up with every sip that you take. Chai is an integral part of the rhythm of life. From morning tea to start a day till the evening tea to gossip with neighbours or co-workers, most Indians have at least three cups of chai per day and sometimes even more. Being one of the oldest beverages in history, chai enjoys great popularity among the masses from young ones to elderlies, the country consumes approximately 837,000 tonnes of chai tea every year.

Chai is a delightful and flavorful treat for everyone regardless of their social status. The recipe for a perfect cup of tea differs in every household, vendor and locals. You can adjust the proportion of ingredients as per your taste buds and have a pleasant drink unique to you. India most popular "Masala chai" is a spicy tea cooked by seeping tea leaves in boiling water and then adding milk, sugar and spices, then letting it slowly cook, lastly all you have to do is serve it boiling and enjoy the hug in a cup aka the masala chai. Chai is not just for consumption its popularity also provides people with a source of income in India, all the streets in India have stalls that sell chai to people in small cups. Even India's current Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to work as a chaiwala for his father in his youth.


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Origin of Chai Tea

The concept of tea has existed in India since ancient times, however, at first, it was not referred to as chai rather it was consumed as a form of Ayurvedic herbal medicines by brewing herbs and spices. Chai, as we know of today, is essentially a legacy of the British. It was Britishers who started the tea cultivation and tea plantation in the country in the 1830s. They brought tea plants from China who was then a major contributor to the world's tea and planted them in large estates in Assam and Darjeeling regions along with the native wild teas found in the mountains. They put indentured Indian labourers to farm and export the bulk amount of tea under British supervision.

Eventually from British aristocrats, chai made its way into every community in India, where strong black tea with spice, milk, ginger and sugar, the masala chai became available to order from chaiwallahs on every street in India. Today, tea is a massive export for India, and "chai tea" became popular in the international market. Numerous coffee houses use the term chai latte or chai tea latte for their version to indicate that the beverage is made with steamed milk, mixed with a spiced tea concentrate.

A tea stall in India All the streets in India have stalls that sell chai to people in small cups. Pixabay


ALSO READ: This International Tea Day Know More About India's Tea Culture Evolution

Benefits of Chai

William Ewart Gladstone quoted:

"If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you."

Chai being a warm beverage provides your body with warmth moreover the spices present in chai have health benefitting factors and keep you warm in a cold climate. However, India has a tropical climate which implies it is scorching hot the majority of the year, so why do Indians consume piping hot tea? Surprisingly despite being a warm beverage tea helps to cool down your body. Drinking a hot cup of chai triggers the body's cooling mechanism, sweat is one of them and it exceeds the effect of hot tea and cools down your overall body temperature. Besides regulating the body temperature chai also has multiple health benefits for the consumers.

It is established that chai is a go-to beverage for all Indians in happiness and sadness it always provides warmth to everyone's hearts. It is not just a beverage; it has a ubiquitous presence in their lives and it is an amalgamation of love, history, culture, and diversity in a single cup.

Keywords: beverage for all Indians, body mechanism, history and culture, tea plantation, chai tea latte, tea benefits, warm beverage, the origin of tea.


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