Chai- An Indian Emotion

If you haven’t heard of the love Indians feel for tea- you haven’t met the right Indians. Most of us cannot do without our daily dose of chai, mostly with a side of biscuits. India is famous for tea being made in different ways, served differently and we are also extremely proud of the zillion or so varieties of tea available here. Read on to find out how and why Indians love Chai so much. There are many Famous tea gardens in India who are producing chai for many years.

A Little Bit History Of Chai (Tea)

The history of chai is quite interesting. According to our forefathers, Chai was accidentally discovered 5000 years ago when a Chinese emperor boiled some tea leaves along with water. However, in India, commercial cultivation of tea was initiated by the British. They imported pounds of tea from China, and repaid them by exporting opium. No sooner the consumption of tea shot up.
It was then that the cultivation of tea began in Assam. The Chinese slowly lost their monopoly in the tea market once they realized that Assam was ideal for tea plantation.

List Of Famous Tea Gardens In India

list of tea gardens in India

India is one of the biggest producers of tea in the world. With a workforce of more than 2 million, tea businesses make up for a major part of our economy. The environmental conditions prevailing in North-east and South India make them ideal locations for large-scale tea plantations. Here is the list of some famous tea gardens in India.

1. Assam

One of the world’s largest tea regions. Every year, it produces over 400 million kilograms of tea. Jorhat is called the ‘tea capital of the world’. It consists of more than 100 tea estates where they grow tea from March to December. 

2. Munnar 

Munnar is home to more than 30 famous tea estates. Most of the plantations here are owned by Tata group of companies, who have opened up a museum, mainly for tourists to study the history of tea plantations in the area. If you’re lucky you may experience first-hand production here. 

3. Nilgiris

This region produces tea all year round. A Tea and Tourism Festival is organized by the state government every year in the months of January and February. At Coonoor, more than one million pounds of tea are sold per week. 

4. Darjeeling

Darjeeling tea is famous all over the world for its taste and aroma. The tea plantations employ over 50,000 people and the total revenue generated from the sales of this tea equal to approximately USD 7.5 million. It holds over 100 tea gardens that produce black, green and oolong tea. 

The Various Types Of Chai (Tea) In India

Our everyday tea has seen some changes over the years. It has been made interesting by permutations and combinations of flavours- sometimes by adding a little cardamom to it or merely putting ‘chai masala’ in it. There are many types of chai are found in India and they have a different taste from each other. so let’s discuss them here.

1. Kahwa Chai

Kahwa Chai

A Kashmiri drink made using green tea and exotic spices. Cardamom, almonds, saffron, and cloves are some ingredients which make up Kahwa. You can make this tea at home using Kahwa tea bags, it is said that cup of Kahwa helps improve your mood, relieve stress and improve concentration. 

2. Irani chai

Irani chai

Most popular in Hyderabad and authentic Irani cafes in Mumbai, Irani chai is made by adding khoa (a milk product) to black tea. Served with Osmania biscuits, lukhmi (a kind of samosa) or bun maska,this chai is another one of our favourites.

3. Sulaimani chai

Sulaimani chai

This tea is a digestive drink served with heavy meals and is famous in the Malabar region. Lemon, cardamom, jaggery, and clove give this tea its distinctive flavour. 

4. Butter tea

Butter tea

An interesting variant of tea made with yak butter, tea leaves, and salt. If you happen to visit the Himalayan regions, make sure you grab a cup of butter tea at one of the local chai shops

Chai Is An Emotion

In India, the demand for chai unaffected by the weather. During winter, it keeps us warm. During monsoons, a steaming hot plate of pakodas with chai make for the perfect evening snack. Basically, any weather is good weather for chai.

The most common conversation starter in our country is chai. You will be amazed at how the conversation flows over a cup of tea. Everything from local issues to Bollywood to international politics- chai and chai wallahs (the tea sellers) have heard it all.

A tea shop in Hindi is called a ‘chai ki tapri’. It can be found at a distance of one kilometre throughout the country. The aroma of milk mixed with ginger, sugar, tea leaves and other spices lingers on our roads. The power of chai tapri is that you will see the common cobbler and the MNC employees share conversations over the same drink.

To conclude, if you’re visiting India, you must try some local tea. Visit the famous tea gardens of India, Carry tea bags back home if you must, why enjoy something so good alone?

Also Read: Brief History of How Coffee Took Over India

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