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The Fascinating ‘Kulhad Chai’

If you look at the menu of any self-respecting tea-house franchise in the country, then you will notice the presence of a ‘kulhad chai’ on the menu. Tea has been such an integral part of Indian households that talk of kulhad chai is nothing new for the general populace. You may have heard your parents go on and on about the earthy taste of this beverage. And it goes without saying that you too may have tasted it. So you know what this earthy flavour is. There is no other way to describe it. What is a Kulhad? A kulhad is a traditional clay cup, without any handles. It is very plain in its form. It is unpainted, unadorned and...

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Tea Story: China’s tea connection and the beginnings of tea

The history of tea is an intriguing and exciting subject. The beverage has been the subject of a large part of our history – from colonialism to modern trade. So, where did it all start? Where does tea come from? And how did it become important enough to cause the Opium Wars in China, and the rise of British Raj in India? Origin According to legend, the story begins around 2737 BC when a Chinese emperor, Shen Nung, found some leaves had accidentally blown into his cup of hot water, changing the colour. The taste impressed him. Another legend involves Shen Nung poisoning himself and testing the leaves’ medicinal properties. But all this is just that: legend. Experts do agree,...

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Benefits of Ginger Tea

You may have heard your parents say this every time you have an upset stomach or a sore throat, “Have some adrak wali chai.” Ginger tea, or adrak chai as it is known in India, is a hot tea served with crushed bits of ginger. The tea is known for its medicinal benefits, as well as its sharp, but delicious taste. Some may even describe it as wholesome if you add a little more milk to this brew. Interestingly, ginger tea is native to South-East Asia, and is particularly popular in China and India. While Indians like to add to add a small quantity of crushed ginger to their milky variant of black tea, the Chinese prefer to make a...

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The right way to make tea

Milk or tea first? Brew two minutes or four? Boil or not to boil? These are questions that often haunt a tea lover’s mind. And since science has also joined the quest for the perfect cup of tea, we can expect concrete answers to these pressing questions. So here are the solutions to the tea questions that vex you. What should I put first in my cup- milk or tea? A scientist at Loughborough University found that pouring milk in after the boiling water causes the milk to heat unevenly. The milk proteins lose their structure and affect the taste of your tea. So it would be better to pour milk first into the cup. On the other hand, if...

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The different names of tea

Did you know that barring a few exceptions, there are only two words for tea in the world? One word is a variation of “cha”, like chai in Hindi, or cha in Bengali. And then there is “te” or similar-sounding words, like tea in English or thé in French. How did this happen? Both these root words (“cha” and “te”) can be traced back to Chinese words for tea. The traditional Chinese character for tea is pronounced in different ways across the country. For instance, “te” is from the southern Fujian province, while “cha” is common across several dialects of Chinese, including in Cantonese-speaking areas. The story of “cha” “Cha” made its way along the Silk Route around 2,000 years...

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A touch of spice makes tea really nice

For all those whole love a dash of spice in their food have you considered adding just a bit of spice to your tea as well? With a wide range of spices to choose from, you can experiment with tea in your kitchen and discover tastes that you didn’t think were possible with your humble chai. What’s more, your favourite spices may also enhance your mood and boost your health. Here are some options to spice up your morning cup of tea (pun intended). Cinnamon Cinnamon is not just for coffee and hot chocolate. It enhances the flavour of almost everything it is added to, whether savoury or sweet.  Add a strip of cinnamon bark as your tea brews or...

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Ek cup chai ho jaye?

Every morning, you—and millions of people across India-- wake up and head groggily to the kitchen to make tea. Whether you live with family, friends or roommates, the morning chai is the first and often the most critical part of your daily routine. You cannot even think of heading to college, going to office, or stepping out for groceries without your mandatory morning cup of tea. Because without chai, you cannot function. Without chai, the day cannot begin. A few hours later, afternoon arrives, and lunch is inevitably followed by a strong urge to nap in the meeting room or in the back bench of a classroom. That’s when you need that cup of chai again. This time, you head...

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The right tea at the right time

So many teas, so little time! So which tea should you have, and on what occasion? The answer is not so simple. To make the best tea choices, you need to understand your needs at different times of the day.  Luckily, we have simplified the tangle of tea times for you. Read our guide to know more. Morning If you’re generally not a morning person, you need a boost to help you get your day started. So your morning cup of tea should be stimulating, though not overwhelm your just-woken taste buds. We recommend: White tea: Best for early morning, white tea is light on the system but also super stimulating! English breakfast tea: This is a type of black...

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Morocco: Where tea was a man’s job

The Moroccan people take their tea and tea drinking rituals seriously. But did you know that in earlier times tea was so precious that only rich and powerful men could drink the beverage? And while it was exclusively men who drank the tea, they were also the only ones who served it to their guests. Intrigued? Enjoy a little flashback to this centuries-old tea ritual. Who’s the man? There was strict protocol in place for the preparation and serving of tea at family gatherings and special occasions in Morocco. And it started only once the guests arrived. The host would appoint one of the guests to prepare tea. The selection was generally a well-thought decision. The “tea man” or “chef...

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Milk or water first? Tea in the 18th century

Tea, arguably Britain’s favourite beverage, reached England in the mid-17th century. At first, only the rich could afford to drink tea. But the drink made its way to coffee houses and tea gardens in London, and soon there was a national clamour for tea. When the government raised taxes on tea in the mid-18th century, tea smugglers took advantage to sell tea at low prices in England. As more and more people began to enjoy tea, a tea culture began to develop in the country. Finally, taxes on tea were slashed in 1784 and tea consumption boomed. Tea and the class difference Even as tea became a significant part of daily lives of people across different strata of society, there...

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E-‘Tea’-Quette: British Afternoon Tea

British life is synonymous with tea time, when you sit down to enjoy little cakes and savouries, and, of course, a cup or two of tea. If you’re invited to afternoon tea by a British friend, or you decide to visit a hotel for tea, what should you expect? And what is the etiquette to follow? Read on to know more. Dress code Most tea venues and tea parties require that you dress in smart casuals, so neither men nor women need to be too formal. But it’s best to avoid sneakers and t-shirts.   Food and beverage There will be tea, of course, along with little snacks like sandwiches and scones (pronounced “sconn”). If there is a cake stand,...

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Tea time treats: Monsoon bites

We can all agree that the pitter-patter of rain is the perfect excuse to sit down for a cup of tea and a plateful of snacks. But what is the best snack to eat with your chai when it’s raining? We did some research and discovered that there is no right answer to that question. Everyone has their favourites, and each of them is just as tempting. Here are our top picks. Vegetable pakoras or bhajiyas Ubiquitous in the rains, these taste best straight from the frying pan into your plate. Enjoy them at your local street vendor. Or whip them up at home since the ingredients will be easily found in your kitchen. Go crazy with the choice of...

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Before Chai, There Was Cha

A tale on the origin of tea as a beverage, what made it the popular drink that it is today. Perceived as the essential British drink, tea is has been around for centuries. A regular Indian’s day does not start without a piping hot cup of chai and biscuit. Though it is not easy to trace the roots to the first cup of tea, popular belief is that tea has been to Chinese culture. According to legends, tea was made by the Emperor of China – Shen Nung, who chanced upon the plant around 2737 BC. A few leaves carried by the wind and fell into a pot of boiling water, that was set up by the Emperor’s troops when...

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