TeatimeIndia (PDF)

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Title: Microsoft Word - TEA TIME AROUND THE WORLD — INDIA.docx

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"...That  raw,  slightly  bitter,  textured  taste  of  earth,  mixed  with  
ginger-­‐sweet  milk  tea  is  the  taste  of  India."  –  Unknown  
ON  THE  MENU:  Cardamom  Spice  +  TBD  


The  English  arrived  first  established  the  East  India  Company  in  India,  in  1600.  
Chinese  variations  of  tea  (sinensis)  were  introduced  to  India  via  the  British  circa  
1850  for  planting  in  the  Assam  region.  Darjeeling  was  another  place  where  these  
teas  were  incredibly  successful  at  this  time—this  region  also  boasted  a  mixture  of  
the  Chinese  and  native  Indian  tea  plants.    


Cha-­‐ya  (or  Chai)  is  an  incredibly  popular  street-­‐style  tea  composed  of  strong  black  
tea,  cardamom,  fennel,  cloves  and  other  spices,  sweetened  with  sugar  and  mixed  
with  milk  for  a  sweet  and  creamy  beverage  that  can  be  enjoyed  for  leisure  and  
relaxation  in  either  outdoor  markets,  meeting  places,  or  the  home.  Sometimes  
enjoyed  with  savory  treats  like  samosas,  it  is  also  popularly  enjoyed  alone.    


The  name  “chai”  is  the  Hindi  word  for  “tea,”  originally  derived  from  “cha,”  the  
Chinese  word  for  “tea.”  The  term  chai  means  a  mix  of  spices  steeped  into  a  tea-­‐like  
beverage.  The  preparation  of  Chai  is  rather  unique.  The  tea  leaves  are  first  boiled  in  
water  and  then  boiled  again  when  combined  with  milk  and  sugar  or  honey  in  the  
pot,  instead  of  being  removed  before  the  other  ingredients  are  integrated.      


Original  versions  of  “masala  chai,”  or  “spiced  tea,”  contained  no  actual  Camellia  
sinensis  tea  leaves.  The  addition  of  tea,  milk,  and  sugar  were  popularized  thousands  
of  years  later  (in  the  mid-­‐1800s)  when  the  British  created  the  now  famous  tea-­‐
growing  regions  of  India  and  popularized  tea  as  a  beverage.  Don’t  let  these  modest  
beginnings  trick  you,  though,  Chai  is  the  second-­‐most  consumed  beverage  in  India  
next  to  water.  





The  origin  of  chai  dates  back  over  5,000  years,  when  a  king  in  the  region  now  known  
as  India  ordered  a  “therapeutic”  spiced  beverage  to  be  created  for  use  in  Ayurveda,  a  
traditional  medicinal  practice  in  which  herbs  and  spices  are  used  for  healing.  A  
variety  of  indigenous  spices  would  be  used  to  prepare  the  healing  drink  depending  
on  the  region  of  the  continent  or  even  the  neighborhood  where  the  beverage  was  
being  made.  Whether  you  are  enjoyed  Chai  at  home  or  on  the  street,  recipes  vary  
from  person  to  person.    




Street  chawallas  serve  chai  tea  in  small  clay  cups  that  are  used  only  once  and  then  
smashed  on  the  ground  afterwards.    
Most  of  India’s  tea  production  is  consumed  at  home.  However,  modern  “tea  bars”  
are  currently  on  India’s  travel  radar  and  boast  a  contemporary  look  that  updates  
and  gentrifies  the  tradition  of  tea  in  the  country.  


Ayurveda  (a  “science  of  life”)  is  a  method  of  natural  medicinal  healing  that  originates  
from  the  Vedic  culture  and  dates  back  to  over  5,000  years  ago  in  India.  It  integrates  
roots  from  Tibetan  and  traditional  Chinese  healing  practices  and  is  currently  
enjoying  a  renaissance  now.  This  philosophy  inspires  people  to  stay  vitalized  while  
they  realize  their  full  potential,  commanding  a  balanced  and  dynamic  relationship  
between  environment  (namely,  the  elements),  body,  mind,  and  spirit.  Ayurvedic  teas  
are  delicately  crafted  caffeine-­‐free  herbal  blends  (licorice  and  ginger  are  two  main  
ingredients)  that  help  to  regulate  and  balance  the  humours  that  keep  the  body  in  
harmony  with  the  world.    
Want  to  learn  more?  
The  World  of  Caffeine:  The  Science  and  Culture  of  the  World's  Most  Popular  Drug  by  
Bennett  Alan  Weinberg,  Bonnie  K.  Bealer  
Tea:  History,  Terroirs,  Varieties  by  Kevin  Gascoyne,  Francois  Marchand,  Jasmin  


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