Posted in Kafevend Blog
Masala chai, or mixed spice
tea, originates from India. Without the addition of the spices, the
tea is fairly similar to that enjoyed by a typical British
individual, what with the addition of milk and sugar to a black tea.
The reason for this is due to a campaign by the British owned Indian
Tea Association in the early 20th century, which tried to
increase its market by persuading Indians to drink the black tea they
grew. As they introduced the English method of consuming tea, it
provided the base for the development of masala chai.
Masala chai is essentially a
black tea, with spices added to develop the flavour. Milk is also
added, and a sweetener in the form of sugar or honey, which
apparently helps to bring out the tastes of the spices. There is no
one definite recipe for the drink, as it lends itself to letting
individuals develop their own preferred ingredients and methods.
Ginger and cardamom form the base for the spice mixture, which is
known as the karha. Popular additions to this base are cinnamon,
cloves, peppercorn and fennel seeds. Whilst it is possible to buy
masala chai tea bags nowadays, traditionally it is prepared as a
decoction, with the ingredients mixed together and heated in a pot
before straining them off and pouring the liquid into cups to drink.