Rich in aroma with the Indian spices and flavoring in delicacy with the special leaves from the numerous tea gardens of India, Masala Tea is one of the preferred beverage of thousands of Indians.
Be it an urban city or rural village, roadside tea stalls and vendors are the most common sight in India. Its delectable taste is appreciated by almost all Indian households in every nook and corner of the country. It’s a courteous gesture to offer a hot cup of Masala Tea to guests as a welcome sign or greeting. Almost all Indians relish this wonderful beverage and seldom opts to spend a day without it.
The History of Masala Tea
The tea gardens initially started in Assam in the 19th century when the plants were first discovered by a Scottish gentlemen named Robert Bruce. Before that Indians considered tea as some sort of an herbal medicine rather than a delectable beverage. After the discovery in Assam, the tea plants cultivation increased at a rapid rate. Promotional campaigns were undergone by the Indian Tea Association in various industries and factories to serve tea to their workers as refreshments. Slowly the popularity spread across to the Indian households too.
The Tea was originally promoted using milk and sugar, devoid of any spices. The taste was steadily enhanced by adding various combination of spices depending on the taste and preferences of tea lovers. The increasing benefits imparted by the Indian spices were also a driving factor for the evolution of Masala Tea.
There are varied methods for preparing Masala Tea. Especially the addition of spices is mainly dependent on the desirable aroma or flavor. Initially a mixture of milk and water is boiled intensely in a pan. The quantity of milk should be approximately half or one-fourth that of water. Once the mixture reaches a sufficient boiling point, the tea leaves are added to it. The solution is further boiled to extract the flavor from the tea leaves. The spices are either powdered in a grinder or the powdered version is bought from the stores. The spices are mixed well and added to the boiling mix of water, milk and tea leaves. The heat is switched off and the mixture is allowed to settle for 2 to 3 minutes. The tea is stained and served hot in cups.
The tea leaves are mainly used from the gardens of Assam. Many prefer Darjeeling tea leaves too. But traditionally Assam tea imparts a strong flavor appropriate for Masala Tea than the Darjeeling one. Different types of Indian spices are used to prepare Masala Chai. The most common being ginger and cardamom pods. The other spices that can be used are cinnamon sticks, fennel, cloves, black pepper and nutmeg. For a strong flavor, it is advisable to use buffalo milk and for a lighter one cow milk is used. Normally sugar is used for the sweetened taste. Nowadays people sometimes prefer using honey due to its good health benefits.
The Essence of Masala Tea
Indians normally prefer consuming Masala tea along with their breakfast or in the evenings with some light snacks. Though there is no specified time for drinking the beverage but it is advisable not to have it in empty stomach or during dinner. It may result in adverse effects on our digestive system.
Tea Stalls are increasing exponentially in every city due the widespread popularity of Masala chai among the mass. It is one of the flourishing and profitable businesses in India. The tea vendors serve the delicious beverage in either earthen cups or plastic cups. In southern part of India, you would also find vendors serving tea in small steel glasses. It is said that the earthen cups enhance the taste of the tea to a great extent. Many tea lovers prefer drinking in earthen cups for that special effects.
Though tea leaves are a source of caffeine yet the spices blend inside energize the body for the day. The body immunity is enhanced preventing cold, cough and flu. The use of ginger serves extremely beneficial for improving the blood circulation within the human body. Additionally ginger and clove are said to be very effective in reducing any kind of pains. Indian spices possess anti-inflammatory properties thus relieving the body of any kind of severe aches.
The spices improve the digestive capacity of the body which positively impacts the metabolism rate, reducing chances of obesity and boosts human health.
If you ask any common man or woman in India, you will find very few exceptions who would prefer not to drink Masala Tea. It is such a favorite delicacy among the Indians that almost all households indulge into delightful marvel. We often hear that important business meetings or debates happen over a delicious cup of tea. The tea has such a soothing effect inside the human mind and heart, it easily boosts up your energy level and intellect.
It has a magical power to relief the stresses and anxieties. You will experience an enlivened feeling of happiness thus allowing your brain to be free of worries. A person without worries and tensions can focus effectively on his or her daily life, be happy and healthy. There is a significant impact on interpersonal relationships as well as on the professional life.
Featured Photo of ‘how about a cup of heavenly Chai this Sunday afternoon?’ by Ute under CC BY 2.0