WHAT IS A CHAI?
“Chai is not just a drink, it’s a culture.”
Chai, the beloved beverage of India, has captured the hearts and taste buds of people worldwide. Its rich aroma, comforting warmth, and bold flavors have become synonymous with the country’s culture and traditions. Masala chai remains a staple in most households and street-side tea stalls, and we all are familiar with the ‘tapri chai’ or ‘cutting chai’. Even some Bollywood songs are inspired by chai, like ‘ Ek garam chai ki pyaali ho’, ‘Ek cutting chai pani kam’, and others.
Each region of India has its distinct way of brewing and enjoying tea, making the experience of exploring different types of chai an exciting and delicious adventure. Join us as we delve into the diverse and flavorful world of Indian chai!
Across India, there are various ways to make masala chai, reflecting the country’s diverse regions. Whether you prefer the sweet and creamy Kolkata-style chai or the robust and aromatic Mumbai-style chai, here’s a list of the most popular types of chai you can try in India. Experience the rich culture and tradition of India with each sip of the authentic and flavorful masala chai.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHAI
This is perhaps the most popular chai in India and a true chai lover must be knowing its recipe by heart. It is a blend of black tea, milk, and spices such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Masala chai is known for its kadak and spicy flavor and is often served with snacks like biscuits or pakoras.
As the name suggests, this chai is made with fresh ginger. It’s an excellent remedy for colds and flu and is known for its soothing effect. Ginger chai has a mild spicy flavor and is often served with honey and lemon.
This is a refreshing variant of chai famous in Kolkata, made with lemon juice and black tea. It’s perfect for summer and is often served with mint leaves.
This is a traditional tea from the Kashmir valley. It’s made with green tea, saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and almonds. Kashmiri kahwa has a rich aroma and a slightly sweet taste.
Assam is a state in northeastern India known for its tea plantations. Ronga Saah is a strong and bold tea with a red hue that’s perfect for those who like their tea strong. It’s often served with milk and sugar.
If you’re a tea lover, you’ve probably heard of Bombay Cutting Chai. Originating from the bustling city of Mumbai, it’s a special kind of masala chai that packs a strong punch of flavor and is served in half-glasses, hence the name “Cutting Chai.” This popular beverage is enjoyed at small roadside tea stalls known as “tapris.” If you’re looking to try something new and exciting, Bombay Cutting Chai is worth a sip!
Also referred to as ‘Ghava’ or ‘Kattan Chaya’, is a popular variety of black tea with origins in South India. Its unique blend of black tea and lemon not only offers a refreshing taste but also provides numerous health benefits.
Looking for a unique and flavorful tea experience? Look no further than Noon Chai! Also known as sheer chai or pink tea, Noon Chai is a delicious Kashmiri milk tea that is made using gunpowder green tea leaves, milk, salt, and baking soda. The baking soda gives this tea its distinctive pink hue, which makes it a popular and visually stunning choice.
This distinct tea is found in old cafes across Hyderabad and is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The addition of mawa or khoya gives Irani chai its sweet and creamy taste that blends perfectly with the milk. The perfect accompaniment to this quintessential drink is bun maska or Irani biscuits.
Made with the holy basil herb, is renowned for its health-boosting properties. With its ability to enhance the immune system and reduce stress, this tea is a popular choice among health enthusiasts. The fresh tulsi leaves infused in the brew give it a distinct flavor that can be enjoyed with or without milk.
Discover the taste of Kangra Chai, the quintessential tea of Himachal Pradesh. With lush green tea gardens in Palampur, it’s a paradise for tea lovers. Kangra Chai offers a green and vegetal aroma that refreshes your senses and has a subtle pungent taste that lingers on your palate.
Hailing from the Darjeeling district of West Bengal is a coveted tea for its unique flavor and high-elevation production. Often referred to as the ‘champagne of teas,’ this black tea has a musky-sweet taste that sets it apart from other varieties.
If you are a tea lover looking to explore new flavors, then Nilgiri tea from Tamil Nadu is worth trying. Grown in the Nilgiri Hills, this tea has a distinct subtropical climate that gives it a bold fruity, and floral taste. With hints of dusk orchids and woody plums, Nilgiri tea has a vibrant aroma and a spicy aftertaste.
CHAI AN EMOTION-
Indians have a strong affinity towards chai or tea, regardless of their geographical location. From North to South, East to West, tea is a beverage that is loved by all. The reasons for this love affair are not hard to fathom.
‘Dear chai, You’ll always be my Best-Tea’
Not only it’s a love affair it is a way of expressing love as well.
‘You are my cup of tea’
A beverage that connects people.
‘Chai, Sutta aur Yaari’
Or it’s just there to give you company while you are all deep in your thoughts. Basically ‘Chai is the elixir of life’. Apart from providing a soothing effect to the soul, chai also has numerous nutritional benefits. It is a great source of antioxidants, improves digestion, boosts immunity, and aids in weight loss. With such amazing benefits, it is no surprise that Indians are obsessed with their daily cup of tea. So, if you are a chai lover, relish your cup of tea without any guilt, as it is not just a refreshing beverage, but also a healthy one.
‘ Life is all like a cup of tea,
It’s all how you make it
“Get ready to sip on the diverse flavors of India! From the spicy notes of Masala Chai to the refreshing taste of Kashmiri Kahwa, we’ve got it all covered. Discover the origins, ingredients, and unique brewing techniques of each variety as we take you on a flavorful journey across the country. So, grab your chai cups and get ready to explore the rich cultural heritage of India through its favorite beverage!”