Tea and Indians have a love story that will never end. Tea is, in simple terms, the heart of Indian society. Tea is an integral part of our daily lives. We affectionately call it Chai.
Tea in India
Tea in India dates back at least to Ramayana’s scripts. It states that Tea was made from Himalayan leaves. Scholars believe this plant is the tea plant. Officially, Tea was first popularized in India in 1921 by the British after the establishment of the East India Company. Tea has remained a central part of Indian society since then.
Taste of India
India is known for its Chai. India is the second largest tea producer in the world. The masala Chai, a sweet and spicy decoction made with milk, is also famous. Masala chai is a blend of Indian traditions and British Tea. It is a popular Indian Tea beloved by both locals and tourists alike. There are many popular Indian chains, including Mumbai’s cut Chai and Hyderabad’s Iranian Chai.
Evening Soiree and Morning Rituals
The Indian family’s favorite drink, Chai, is the starting point for many meaningful conversations. Chai is typically consumed twice daily, just like in British customs. While some families share breakfast, others prefer it as an individual event. Tea is the perfect companion to an AM meal, no matter what it may be. Tea is the potent brew that gives you the wake-up call you need, whether it’s English Breakfast, Early Grey, or Strong Ginger.
Evening teas can be more casual and informal. Sometimes guests drop by, or neighbors drop by to say hello. Tea is the drink that unites everyone. Hot pakoras are the perfect combination for a cold day.
Tea is the universal drink that unites people mornings and evenings.
The Quintessential Office Chai Breaks
Chai breaks in Indian office offices are more than regular work breaks. Chai breaks are where vital decisions are made – deals are closed, and employees are hired. Travel plans are confirmed. Non-tea drinkers can panic if the rest of their team is taking chai breaks. It is always a good idea to tag along with your team at such times.
Let’s have a cup of Tea.
When important decisions are to be made, it is a good idea to have a quick chat over a cup of Tea. A tea meeting can seal a deal with a client or fix the bride/groom in an arranged marriage.
A political campaign in India was called “Chai Pe Charcha,” which means discussion over a cup of Tea. There are more than 1000 stalls across 300 cities, so even grassroots communities can be connected. Tea is so prominent in Indian society, including the political arena.
Companion for Travelers
Indian Tea inspired the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which began in 1878 under the British Raj. The Indian Tea Association tried to make Tea more accessible by creating the Indian Railway. Famously, a historian once said, “The chaiwallah is still what a passenger hears when he wakes up on a train in north India. He marches through the carriages with a metal kettle in one hand and glasses in another, calling out ‘chai.'” This tradition continues today, where loud tea sellers walk down the aisles of trains to offer Tea to bored passengers who are satisfied by hot cups of masala chai despite the heat. This is how this country loves Tea.
The Tea Association of India once stated that a “better cup of tea can be had at platform tea stalls than in first-class restaurant cars on trains.” These hoardings were placed in large numbers in Indian languages along railway stations. It is a fact that has been proven true to this day. You can find a good cup of Tea on the streets rather than in a restaurant.
Indian society weaves Tea into its fabric in many ways, and it does so beautifully. Tea is a valuable part of Indian culture. If you remove it, you can take many treasured possessions that Indians treasure and cherish.