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Indian Spiced Chai Tea

Brewing Hints: Brew for four minutes with freshly boiled water or for three minutes if using Tea Temples. Or make completely with hot milk.

Leaf: GFOP (Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)

Origin: Assam in Northern India

Characteristics: Fruity, spicy and invigorating

Serving Suggestions: Ideal on hot day and, if made with milk, will sustain you for the day ahead.

Ingredients: Black Tea, Ginger Root, Cinnamon Bark, Cardamom Seeds.

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Product Description

Indian Spiced Chai Tea is a delightfully spiced Indian tea made using tea from Assam. It is black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs, which can include ginger, green cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, peppercorns and cloves. Traditionally cardamom is the main flavour.

We believe that Chai, because of its enormous variations is a class of tea rather than a specific type. All Chai tea is made with the following four components:

  • Tea base
  • Spices
  • Milk
  • Sweetener

Historically Indians viewed tea as a herbal medicine and often used the wild tea plants that grew throughout northern India (these wild tea plants were hybridised with the Chinese tea plant – see our Assam tea). Some ancient Ayurvedic medical texts contain recipes for Chai Masala spice mixes.

Originally in the early 20th century the Indian Tea Association encouraged factories, mines and mills in India to provide tea breaks for their workers. To start with the tea was served as we take our tea here with very little milk and sugar added, indeed the Indian Tea Association initially disapproved of the Chai method of making tea as this meant less tea was used.

A normal cup of black tea made in the time-honoured British style contains about half the caffeine of an equivalent cup of coffee. Chai, however has about a third of the caffeine and depending on the herbs and spices used can have many different benefits. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people in both India and Sri Lanka who have sent me over the last few years some wonderful recipes for making Chai, that will give the reader (and perhaps drinker) clear insight into how Ayurvedic principles still pervade the massive Indian market that is Chai tea.

Tea base
The majority of Chais in this country tend to either use a CTC or Orthodox Assam examples of these tea we sell at Northern Tea Merchants are Assam Broken Orange Pekoe and Tippy Orthodox Assam. In Kashmir Chai is often brewed with Gunpowder Green Tea.

If you glance through some of the recipes you will see a bewildering array of spices and herbs. The most popular herbs used in traditional Chai blends which are served as street drinks, in restaurants and at home, tend to contain ginger and cardamom and additionally either cinnamon, fennel, peppercorns, nutmeg or cloves, with each region having their own traditional recipe.

In India Buffalo milk is traditionally used and although it can be purchased at certain points of the UK it isn’t generally something you can just walk to the shop and buy, in the rest of the world whole cow milk will add the richness required. Normally one would mix either a quarter or half part of milk with water and bring the liquid to near boiling with the tea, sweetener and spice mix. It is quite done to drink Chai without milk and simply use boiling water all the way through.

Traditionally, Chai is a sweet drink. Sweeteners such as white sugar, cane or Muscovado, coconut, palm sugar, agave syrup, Jaggery or honey can all be used and indeed in the right proportions will take away the harshness of some of the spices. However sugar is not an absolute requirement and unsweetened Chai is very popular. Some people use condensed milk instead to add sweetness.

Our Indian Spiced Chai is made to order using water or heavy (condensed) milk. Both are delicious, and we are sure that you will enjoy our authentic Chai made either way.



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