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Ek Cup Chai Ho Jaye ? (Part II) - By Arnab
History of chai
Tea plantation was introduced in India by the British in 1820 in an attempt to end Chinese monopoly on tea. Tea was not popular among Indians until a major campaign initiated by the Tea Board of India around the 1920’s. The high cost of tea lead the tea vendors on the street to add other items to tea like milk, sugar and spices. Although the Tea Board did not approve the additions, it quickly became the preferred beverage for Indians.
Masala chai became even more popular in India in the 1960s, when a mechanized form of tea production called 'CTC' made black tea affordable for the Indian masses. CTC (or 'Crush, Tear, Curl') tea lacks the nuances that many crave in a cup of tea, but it does have a bold, tannic flavor that made it a tasty foil to masala chai’s sweet, creamy and spicy notes. For this reason, CTC masala chai remains a staple in many parts of India.
Types of Indian Tea
Tea is grown primarily in the Northeast region India on the slopes and foothills of the Himalayas and in the south along Nilgiri mountains. India primarily produces Black tea but also grows other kinds like Green, White and Oloong. Black tea which get their color and flavor due to higher oxidation are primarily of two kinds in India - Darjeeling and Assam named after the two primary growing regions in the Northeast.
Assam teas are generally darker in their dry leaf. They are well known for their robust malty flavour, yield a darker brew, and are kind of like 'comfort drinks'. When wet, the leaves are almost completely brown. Darjeeling teas are prized for their floral and fruity muscatel scent/flavour, are much more delicate and require a gentler brewing. They show up as greenish in their dry leaf state and stay fairly green in their wet leaf state.
Check out the Chai Recipe in the last part of this article
- If you have missed Part 1 - Ek Cup Chai Ho Jaye ? (Part I) - By Arnab
Learn what chai means to an Indian in India. Know all about chai, the benefits, the history and also a recipe to make at home every day. Know about my own experience with chai growing up in Kolkata.
- Ek Cup Chai Ho Jaye ? (Last Part) - By Arnab
Part 3 of 3. Learn what chai means to an Indian in India. Know all about chai, the benefits, the history and also a recipe to make at home every day. Know about my own experience with chai growing up