Masala chai is easily one of my favourite beverages on the planet. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s fulfilling – what more could you want?
Masala chai dates back 5,000 years ago, to South East Asia. It originated in the courts of King Harshavardhana, who would drink the chai in order to be able to stay awake through long court days. Since then, black tea has been added to the sugar and spice mix, and milk has also since been added to enhance the flavours.
The basic spice base for chai can also be found in many other cultures around the world, with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, star anise, and pepper being used in food and drinks pretty much everywhere. Even in India, chai is never one solid recipe, with Kashmir serving green tea instead of black tea, Bhopal adding salt to the blend, and Western India leaving cloves and black peppercorns out.
There are many health benefits associated with masala chai, such as boosting the immune system, aiding in digestion, and being rich in antioxidants – which is just about perfect for my fellow Chronies. There’s nothing quite like a drink that both tastes delicious and does good within the body.
If you would like to learn more about the culture surrounding masala chai – and the tea culture of over 30 different countries – then you should check out my new tea course! Within it, I talk about some of the coolest tea cultures across the world; in mountain villages, in bustling cities, in deserts, and even in space! I think it’s pretty cool, and even though I’m probably biased, it’s definitely the best tea course in the game 😉
Hibiscus, liquorice root, mint, tulsi, ginger, nettle, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves.
Sunita sent me one of the best chais I have ever tasted, made up of delicious black tea and high quality spices from the Kerala region. Energising and with health properties, it is the perfect brew for a cold British day.
I also tried the rose green tea which was delicate and refreshing, and which had been made by sun-drying roses for the Darjeeling green tea. Along with this, I tried their Emotional Detox tea, made from fresh hibiscus, mint, liquorice, and basil. Free from all artificial flavouring, it can help with settling painful or passionate emotions. Pretty useful during the end of a dark year, honestly.
Another tea of theirs that I really like is the Ayurveda Wellness Tea, which came in a metallic container. They have a Zero Waste initiative which offers you the tea in a double lid metal container, which is a great idea and makes the tea looks so much fancier. This tea is made up from lemongrass, grape, papaya, fennel, camomile, balm, rose petals, cacao nibs, goji berry, and jasmine petals – one of the most delicious blends I have ever tried.
Their Tulsi Lemon Ayurveda tea is delicious and citrusy and makes my cheeks tingle. It is made up from rooibos, the Tulsi herb, lemongrass, aloe vera chunks, lemon peel, natural flavour, cornflower blossoms, and lemon corners. It’s very soothing, and perfect for a post-meal aperitif.
And then they have their blue tea, made from Anshan flowers from Thailand. This is one of my favourite teas, especially as I’m always amazed when the water turns a deep blue, and then purple when I add citrus juice. The tea is made from the medicinal plant, Clitoria ternatea, which is used in folk medicine and is said to help with weight loss, diabetes, and ageing.
Finally, I highly recommend their Ayurveda Women Power tea, which has soft and slightly spicy green notes, made to soothe, relax, and increase wellness. It tasted a little like an unsmoked yerba mate, which is a deeply pleasant taste. The tea is made from apple, blackberry leaves, natural rooibos, ginger, cinnamon sticks, black pepper, orange peels, camomile, clove, and cardamom. Despite there being a lot of ingredients, they all seem to blend together perfectly, creating this ideal balance.
Along with receiving this tea, I was also sent several of their business cards. One spoke about their Zero Waste initiative, in which they are trying to inspire both healthier drinking habits for their consumers along with improving their own environmental stance. Through the sale of their teas, you are helping to support their communities in India ‘by purchasing directly from small tea growers and women farmers’. As a token of appreciation to all the women across the globe, they are also offering a 30% discount on our products to women and kids. Pretty perfect business model, right?
They combine traditional ayurvedic properties with the highest quality tea, and this mixed with sustainability and consumer awareness makes it a truly wonderful business to support.
Another reason why I love Time to Tea is that it was initially started by two siblings in Kashmir in India, which is one of the coldest regions in the country with a very rich tea culture. According to their website, ‘Life in the region starts with a Cup of Kashmiri Kahwa early morning and continues with consumption of Pink Tea also referred to as Sheer Chai or Nun Chai where sugar is replaced by salt as a healthy practice. Both siblings and their family carried forward the tradition even after they became immigrants in their own country and moved cities due to terrorism in the valley. This tradition always kept the spark for Tea live in them as they carried Kashmir with them wherever they travelled.’
Sunita decided to start up the tea business after being unhappy with roadside chai, due to the hygiene reasons. Sunita and Supinder focused their goal on promoting health through tea, and now they have several company owned stores across the globe, including a speciality tea room in Basel. Basel is one of my favourite cities in the world, and I personally cannot wait to go back and grab myself another handful of their delicious teas. Meet you out there?
Read more about Teas on my blog https://wandering-everywhere.com/best-masala-chais/