We can all agree that chai is not just a beverage in India, it's an emotion. There's something about a cup of freshly brewed kadak chai that instantly lifts our mood even on the dreariest of days. Whether it's early in the morning, at noon or in the evening after a tiring day at work - a strong cup of chai always makes everything better! Don't you agree? While we are all familiar with the classic masala chai or 'tapri chai', there's so much more to explore! From Kashmir to Kerala, there's a wide variety of teas that are brewed across the country. Today, we bring you a list of 8 different types of chai that you should definitely try if you're a true chai lover! So, without further ado, let's get started with the list.
The History And Origins Of Chai
'Chai' is the Hindi word for tea, which is derived from 'cha', the Chinese word for tea. It is believed that the origin of chai dates back more than 5000 years ago in the Assam region of India. A king combined a medley of flavourful and warm spices and turned them into a drink to be used in the Ayurveda. The healing beverage gained immense popularity over the years and spread to different parts of the country, each region giving its own unique twist to the ancient recipe.
Here're 8 Different Types Of Chai You Must Try:
1. Noon Chai - Kashmir
Kashmiris and their love for chai needs no introduction. They are known to be connoisseurs of tea and the pink-coloured noon chai or sheer chai is one of their most famous beverages. It is made using gunpowder tea leaves, milk, salt and baking soda. The addition of dried rose petals and dry fruits gives this tea a royal and luscious taste. Kashmiri noon chai is traditionally served during breakfast or in the evening with local breads such as makai ki roti, lavash, tschot and girda.
2. Ronga Saah - Assam
Assam has the world's largest concentration of tea plantations in the world. It is home to some of the most beautiful tea gardens and serves more than half the country with its rich and aromatic teas. Ronga Saah is one such tea that holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. This reddish-brown tea is extremely refreshing, has a mild flavour and is known to aid digestion. It is popular for its vibrant red colour and usage of pure tea leaves.
3.Lebu Cha - Kolkata
Lebu cha is Bengal's own version of spiced tea. This street-style tea is a zesty infusion of black tea that comes with a hint of lemon. It is made by brewing tea leaves in water and a special mix of masalas that is unique to each street vendor. A fresh squeeze of lemon is added towards the end which gives this chai a tangy kick. Lebu cha is like a desi version of the classic lemon tea and is a must-try if you happen to be in the city of joy.
4. Irani Chai - Hyderabad
Irani chai is unlike any other version of Indian chai. It was brought to India by the Persians during the 19th century and is now found across various old cafes in the city. The addition of mawa or khoya gives this tea its distinct taste. And the result is a sweet, creamy and milky concoction. You can also add spices like cinnamon and green cardamom to make this chai even more flavourful. This quintessential Irani chai is best enjoyed with bun maska or Irani biscuits.
5. Sulaimani Chai - Kerala
Sulaimani chai hails from the Malabar region of Kerala. This fragrant spiced tea is of Arab origin and is quite popular in South India. It is believed that Prophet Muhammad used to drink this beverage called ghava made with dates and black pepper. The Arabs later changed this ancient recipe to suit their palates. This refreshing tea is made from black tea and is served without milk. People usually drink this beverage after a fulfilling meal.
6.Kangra Chai - Himachal Pradesh
Kangra is known as the tea capital of North India. The lush green gardens of Palampur are every tea lover's heaven. The Kangra valley has been producing both green and black tea since the mid-19th century. This Himachali tea boasts a green and vegetal aroma and has a subtle pungent taste to it.
7.Darjeeling Tea - West Bengal
Darjeeling tea is the highest elevation produced tea in the world. It is grown in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal and is extremely unique as its leaves can be processed in various ways. It is usually called the 'champagne of teas' as it has a musky-sweet tasting flavour, and is regarded as one of the world's finest black teas.
8.Nilgiri Tea - Tamil Nadu
Nilgiri tea is cultivated in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. This region has a unique subtropical climate that produces a tea with bold fruity and floral flavours. It also has hints of dusk orchid and woody plums. It has a vibrant aroma, a spicy aftertaste and also boasts several health benefits. A sip of Nilgiri tea will give you a soul-soothing experience.
Try out these popular chai variations from across the country and let us know which one was your favourite in the comments below.
About Vaishali KapilaVaishali finds comfort in eating parathas and rajma chawal but is equally enthusiastic about exploring different cuisines. When she's not eating or baking, you can often find her curled up on the couch watching her favourite TV show - FRIENDS.