The History of Chai Tea
Chain tea has been a long-standing beverage in India subcontinent and has stood a test of time. Apart from chain tea being a beverage, it also possesses some herbal effect due to the nature of the ingredients.
In India, requesting for a “chai tea” is literally asking for a “tea tea” because the word chai itself translates to tea. Chai is often called “masala tea” by a wide range of people and it means spice tea that has been well mixed. Masala tea is a mix of spices that are aromatic with herbs added to brewing black tea making up a nice flavored tea beverage.
Many of the ingredients used in the preparation of masala tea are commonly found in India subcontinent because the popular tea beverage took its origin from there. This beverage was originally only popular within the boundaries of India but in recent times, it has transformed into a beverage that is now widely known all around the globe. Ever since the masala tea has continued to gain more and more popularity because of the increase in sales in quite a number of a coffee shop and tea houses in different areas it has featured.
Even though masala tea was traditionally prepared as a drink made from dry leaves that includes ground cloves, peppercorn, ground ginger, green tea, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods in hot water with the inclusion of tea bags. The retail version of the tea is quite different, this is to make sure it fits in for the commercial purpose, therefore, instant powders that have been premixed and some other concentrates are used.
Despite the masala tea being accepted and prepared in different parts of the world, in some cases, few of the traditional ingredients are being substituted with closely related alternatives that are readily available in the area. For instance, sweetened condensed milk is used in some areas in place of the traditional Buffalo milk. Despite all, as it stands, a lot of chai masala spice mixtures uses traditionally are still in use.
The recipe of masala chai varies from location to location, the quantity to be prepared whether it is for personal use or commercial sale likewise a lot of families have their own version of the tea. As a result of the large range of possible variation, masala chai can be considered a class of tea rather than just a specific Kind. But all the same, masala chai has four basic components which are milk, sugar, cardamoms, and ginger. It is Paramount to note that the western adaptation of masala or chai tea has a lighter and sweeter taste than the Indian version if a more herbal and Spiced milk beverage.
INGREDIENTS USED IN PREPARING CHAI TEA
To prepare chai tea, the basic ingredients that should be available and their quantity in preparation of four American-sized servings or 12+ Indian-sized servings includes;
- 2 1/4 cups of water
- 1 entire star anise
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 4 cracked cardamom pods
- 4-5 bags of black tea, or 1/4 cup of loose black tea
- 2 cups whole milk or half-n-half
- A 1/4 cup of sugar
NOTE: It is important to know that the tea base which is regarded as the backbone of the tea is usually a strong black tea. It is usually made strong so that spices and sweetener do not bury it. The mixture of cardamom pods, ginger together form the spices called the Katha. Traditionally in India, Buffalo milk is mostly used to prepare chai tea. Nevertheless, some have introduced the use of sweetened condensed milk, it all depends on preference and availability. If you prefer to drink chai without milk, the portion will be replaced with water. For the sugar, several types of sugars can be employed for this purpose. Palm/coconut sugars, damarara sugars, white sugars as well as brown sugars are the general sugars basically used in the preparation of chai tea. It should also be noted that syrup or honey can be used as well. Jaggery is also used as sweeteners more commonly in most part of India.
PREPARATION OF CHAI TEA.
Traditionally, the most convenient and easiest way of preparing masala chai is by actively infusing the milk, water, sweeteners, leaf tea and the whole spices mixed together in boiling water.
In summary, the entire process of preparation can be narrowed down to the following basic steps;
- Crack the cardamom pods by pressing them
- Ensure that the tea, water, anise, star, cinnamon as well as the cardamom all boil together.
- Continue boiling for around 3 to 5 minutes until the tea is visibly black and has reduced to about 2 cups.
- Strain and add sugar.
- Add the milk and stir until hot.
- Place the used cardamom pods in the bottom of the cups for good friends.
- Makes 4 American-sized servings or 12+ Indian-sized servings.
It is important to note that this specific method of preparation may vary slightly depending on preferred taste, or local custom of where it is prepared or the individual preparing it. For example, some particular locality may introduce all the ingredients from the beginning, bring the mixture to boil and then immediately strain and serve. Some Others may prefer to allow the mixture simmering for a longer period or start by bringing the tea leaves to a boil and only add the spices towards the end. The quantity to be prepared can also slightly affect the process of preparation.
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