The Chai Culture And Its Significance In India
Image Credit: Freepik

Chai is derived from the Chinese word 'cha.' It is thought to be between 5000 and 9000 years old. We've seen our elders sipping endless cups of tea throughout the day as we've grown up. Then we grew up and realised we were doing the same thing. Almost every one of us has a similar story. A lot of people can't go a day without having at least one cup of chai. We need chai as soon as we get up in the morning with our staple biscuits or rusk, we need it in the evening when we are tired and exhausted from our daily duties and job, and some people would even have it late at night. It is soul therapy for us.  

India is the world's second-biggest tea producer, after China, and one of the world's major tea consumers. Around the 1830s, Britishers began cultivating tea in India in order to export it to the Britain, as they discovered that the Indian soil was far more ideal for growing tea leaves than the soil in China. It was first introduced to Indian people in the early 1900s when a British-owned tea company attempted to introduce black tea into the market. However, due to the high price of black tea, not everyone could afford it, so many Indians came up with their own versions of combining the tea leaves with herbs, spices, milk, and sugar to make a milky sweet beverage that is still popular today as ‘masala chai’ 

Not only do we have distinct and unique varieties of masala chai, but we also have diverse and unique versions of it. No two cups of chai are the same, which means that every household in our country, or any individual, prepares it differently. Some people would add 'adrak,' others would add black pepper, and still others would add saunf.' It is a one-of-a-kind beverage that is also quite therapeutic. There is even a saying which goes like; Headache? Have chai, tired? have chai, stressed? Have chai. This is how important it is to us.  


 Image source-Freepik

Not only that, but Indians have popularised this beverage in other nations as well; we've all heard of 'chai tea latte' being sold in Starbucks locations around the world. We all thought it was strange that the name was repeated twice because chai and tea are virtually the same thing. 

 Image source-Freepik

Varieties of chai other than masala chai you could try out today at your home-  

    Black pepper chai 

    Chai with milk and lemongrass  

    Saunf wali chai 

  No matter how aesthetic coffee looks, or how it tastes so creamy, we can never prioritise it over our beloved chai, it will always remain an integral part of our lives even in future too.