A chai tea refers to a type of Tea that, most commonly, is an infusion of black tea leaves blended with numerous herbs and spices. In India, these teas have been consumed for thousands of years in various forms, even before the inclusion of Black Tea.
Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we have a multitude of chai tea blends for you to try. It’s worth noting that seldom do two teas ever boast the same characteristics. In fact, across India, chai recipes differ from region to region; village to village; and even household to household. Don’t think that because you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all. There are literally thousands!
And while we, of course, do not accommodate every chai tea in existence, we do have in stock some of the most famous, the most sought-after, and the most delicious available. One could try our chai tea bags, for example, which contains cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. This particular recipe was created by the Grandmother of a very old acquaintance to Mr Richard Smith, owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. It boasts traditional flavours associated with this tea and won the Great Taste Award in 2006. Alternatively, one could follow a less conventional path, travelling across the Indian border to try our Nepal Masala tea. With this, one can expect a wide variety of flavour notes, the most distinct being lemongrass, which is an ingredient rarely found in this type of Tea, making it truly unique. If either of these is not to your taste, then we have many, many more!
But what do you need to know about it? For starters, like most teas, it has uncertain origins. According to some records, a herbal infusion closely resembling this tea (but without the black tea) was consumed some 9,000 years ago. These beverages were called “Kadhas”, or “Karhas”, and were associated with the ancient holistic practice of Ayurveda.
The inclusion of tea leaves did not occur until the time of the British Raj in India. Assam tea was discovered in India in 1823, which in turn gave rise to the Indian tea industry. Over the course of many decades, the industry developed; however, as late as the 20th Century, most Indians did not drink tea in any form. They instead preferred their nutritious Kadhas which had remained an integral part of their culture. Before and during the First World War (1914 - 1918), when Britain was in need of an economic boost, the Raj adopted the idea of “tea breaks” to encourage Indian workers at factories, textile mills and mines to drink tea. Nevertheless, Indians were rightfully not prepared to fully surrender their cultural practices, and so began to infuse Black tea with herbs and spices. this tea type was born.
People enjoy this type of tea in many ways, some choose to enjoy a cup of chai latte in the morning at a local coffee shop, others prefer a spiced drink made with Chai ingredients too.
Today, India, now an independent country, continues to enjoy this unique tea in all aspects of life. And they are not the only ones, either. Throughout the West, more and more people are turning to this type of tea, especially those who are health-conscious, with almost all the ingredients found in these wholesome infusions offering incredible health benefits. So, is this “your cup of tea”? Find out today!