Monday, October 15, 2012

Speaking of Chai!

Here is some interesting info on Chai Tea!!  Have you stopped in to try our instant Chai's or try some of our bulk loose leaf?  My favorite way to drink the loose leaf is made in a French Press (available at the Cabin)  then add just a touch of vanilla creamer or half and half with honey!! Of Course the best way to blend  is with one of our drink hand blenders!!  $7.99
Chai originated in India, Nepal, Tibet and Pakistan. The word "chai" is a generic word that means "tea" in those regions. Chai means a spiced tea mixed with milk and sweetener. The most common "chai" known is Masala Chai. Typically, such drinks are known as chai lattes in Western countries. Some legends in Siam and India say that chai was invented by a king and protected as treasure.

The History of Masala Chai (a.k.a. "Chai Tea")

From Ayurvedic Ambrosia to Americanized Coffeehouse Treat

By , GuideThe 'chai' you find in nearly any coffeehouse has a history that dates back thousands of years. Ancient 'masala chai' ('spiced tea') is steeped in tales of royalty and herbal medicine, and has evolved over the years to include countless variations and a worldwide fan base. This is masala chai's history, beginning where it originated the ancient kingdoms of South Asia and ending with how it permeated the corner coffee shops of America.

Early History

According to lore, masala chai’s history began thousands of years ago in an ancient royal court. Some legends say it was created 9000 years ago, while others say it was 5000 years ago. Some say the court was located in what is now India, while others attribute masala chai to Thai origins. Regardless, it is said that a king created it as a cleansing, vivifying Ayurvedic beverage. Even early on, masala chai was made with a wide range of spices and prepared with many different methods. It was served hot or cold as a remedy for mild ailments. At this time, the spicy-sweet drink known as “masala chai” did not contain any tealeaves and was caffeine free.

Black Tea’s Arrival

In 1835, the British set up tea plantations in Assam, India. The black teas produced there made their way into local masala chai recipes. This is the first appearance of masala chai as we know it, complete with spices, milk, sweetener and tea. However, this mixture lacked mass appeal, as tea was primarily an export and was too expensive for most Indians.

Mass Popularity in India

In the early 1900s, when the British-owned Indian Tea Association began to promote Indian tea consumption within India. Because black tea was the most expensive ingredient, vendors used milk, sugar and spices to keep their brews flavorful while keeping costs down. Masala chai's popularity spread. 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 an unadorned 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.Regionally, street vendors and train vendors calledchai wallahs ('tea persons,' kind of like a barista of chai) serve masala chai to the public. Chai is also used to welcome guests into the home. In some areas, people drink an average of about four small cups of chai per day. A popular time for chai is an afternoon snack at around 4 PM. This snack may include savory treats like samosaspakorasfarsan(Gujarati snacks) and nashta (savory breakfast foods that double as snack foods).

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