Spicy Chai At Hana Tea House
Chai is steeped in a rich history. The name “chai” is actually the Hindi word for “tea”, which was derived from “cha”, the Chinese word for “tea”. In this case, the Hindi term chai means a mix of spices steeped into a tea-like beverage. Recipes for chai vary across continents, cultures, towns and families. But the traditional ingredients of a spiced tea blend usually include black tea mixed with strong spices, like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns. The spiced tea mixture is typically brewed strong with milk and sweetened with sugar or honey. However, the milky sweet tea treat we order in coffee and tea shops today has very little in common with the origins of Indian chai.
Legend has it that the origin of chai dates back more than 5,000 years, when a king in what is now India ordered a healing spiced beverage be created for use in Ayurveda, a traditional medicinal practice in which herbs and spices are used for healing. The heat from ginger and black pepper was believed to stimulate digestion; the antiseptic properties in cloves were thought to help relieve pain; cardamom was used as a mood elevator; cinnamon supported circulation and respiratory function; and star anise was known to freshen the breath.
As the healing beverage spread across India a wide variety of spices were used to prepare the drink, depending on the region of the continent or even the neighborhood where the beverage was being made.
Believe it or not, original versions of “masala chai”, or “spicy chai”, contained no actual Camellia sinensis tea leaves. Milk and sugar were also later additions to the famous drink. The addition of black tea leaves, milk and sugar were popularized thousands of years later (in the mid-1800s) when the Camellia sinensis assamica tea plant variety was discovered in India and cultivated by the British, who ruled continent at the time and had an insatiable desire for strong black tea with milk and sugar.
Tasting Spicy Chai and its Health Benefits
The huge variation of chai recipes means the beverage can take on many different flavor directions depending on the ingredients used. Chai that’s heavy on the ginger and black peppercorns can leave a fire-y bite. Others containing more vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg may leave behind a sweeter note. Those with saffron or cacao may impart some earthy bitterness. And those using fennel or cumin may have a more savory note.
As a nod to tea garden origins on the subcontinent of India, our Chai Tea was created with the more classic, original Indian chai flavors in mind. With a blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon, our chai is a beautiful balance of smooth and spicy. The bold spiciness of ginger and strong sweetness of clove shine through, but the spices don’t overshadow our full-bodied black tea leaves. Our chai is just as lovely steeped in water alone as it is with the addition of your favorite milk or sugar.
The chai tea is more than just a fragrant, Spicy Chai. It is as healthy as it is refreshing and may help boost heart health, improve digestion and even reduce blood sugar levels. And with the wide availability of organic chai tea online, you can enjoy these benefits with every cup you drink and you’ll love every sip of this spicy hot beverage.