A day doesn't begin, for most of us, without having a nice, refreshing cup of tea (chai). It is in fact the most consumed drink, in a day, after plain drinking water. In India, tea is definitely the most popular beverage and millions of cups are sold on a daily basis. Besides, India is the second largest exporter of tea. It is said that tea is mentioned in the Ramayana as well. However, it was only after the arrival of the British that drinking tea became a daily habit for Indians.
There are myriads of flavours in tea which are unique to various places in the country. The masala tea, prepared by brewing herbs and spices is incredibly popular. The tea leaves used to prepare the masala tea are mainly cultivated in Assam. Tea, flavoured with lemon grass and cardamom are some of the unique brews.
Noon tea or Kashmiri tea is a variant of the regular black tea that is popular in Kerala. This tea is boiled in a traditional samovar in Rajasthan and Kashmir. Gur gur tea or butter tea is a special tea served in the Himalayan valleys. The butter made from yak milk is added in this creamy tea. More than sweetness, it is the salty flavour that is foregrounded in this beverage. It is said that the gypsies here would drink up to 40 cups of butter tea a day.
Green tea is known for its amazing health benefits. Similarly, herbal tea too has many takers for its incredible medicinal properties. Ginger, lemon grass, bael leaves, cardamom, coriander and hibiscus are some of the main ingredients of herbal tea. The flavour of the herbal tea varies according to the quantities of these ingredients that are added in it.
The Irani tea, flavoured with spices, is an evergreen companion of soft and delicious buns. Hyderabad and Pune are known for serving specially brewed Irani tea and hundreds throng these cities just to taste the refreshing flavour of this amazing tea. Amrit thulya tea and tandoori tea too are popular among the tea lovers. The amrit thulya tea, brewed in a brass vessel, by adding powdered cardamom and ginger is excellent for health as well. The tandoori tea made in an earthen pot is a relatively new addition to the long list of tea varieties in India.