Like most teas that have very distinguishable characteristics, the origins of Masala Chai is shrouded in mystery. Though it is nowhere recorded in historical ledgers, Chai tea is believe to date back somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. Legend also has it that a King whom practiced in the ancient medicine of Ayurveda, drank Masala Chai to main balance between mind, body and spirit.
For wherever Masala Chai had come from we can be sure that before the British established the first tea plantation back in 1835, Chai tea was just a medicinal drink for healing mild ailments. It consisted of the traditional Indian ground spices; Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon plus Cloves and Bay leaves as an addition.
The introduction of black tea made it’s way into Masala Chai and this pushed up the Price. For what was an everyday drink became a very rare luxury because many Indians could not afford the expensive black teas.
As more tea plantations appeared across India in the early 1900’s, the British controlled Indian Association promoted the drinking of tea in India but yet black tea was still very expensive. Many tea merchants added more cheaper ingredients such as milk and spices with black tea to cover a wider spectrum.
In the 60’s a new method of developing black tea was developed called the ‘crush, tear, curl’ method or what we now know as ‘CTC’. This eliminated some of the rigorous processes that were previously used for producing black tea and for the first time ever it became available to the masses.
- Masala Chai and Chai Tea mean the same thing. Chai Tea means ‘spiced tea’ and chai just simply means ‘tea’. Confused yet?
- Masala Chai has lower caffeine then coffee.