Chais of India – Do You Know How Many There Are?
Snigdha Manchanda, our tea sommelier, unlocks for us, various ways in which tea is prepared in different regions of India. For the World Tea Expo, she writes about varied cultural practices that influence tea preparations in India. From the north to the south and east to west, the style of preparing tea is different.
In the north, Kashmir is famous for their kahwa tea, which is brewed with saffron strands, rose petals and almonds. It is the oldest known recipe for making tea. For centuries, it has been a tea reserved for royalty. Even today for celebration dinners, (called Wazwan) Kahwa is an important part of the meal. After food, they serve Kahwa since it has digestive properties. Noon Chai or Sheer Chai, brewed with a pinch of baking soda, is another tea, found in the same region. This tea is known for it’s unique pink color.
In the western region, we add mint leaves and lemongrass in tea, which in turn gives it a soothing and balmy taste. People in the southern parts of India use black pepper in their tea since black pepper is available in abundance.
By adding butter to Gur Gur Tea, it becomes more creamy. Singdha found out that this has given an extra dose of energy to those from Himalayan areas for centuries. Also, in the eastern regions of India people add bay leaves to their tea, which typically goes into savoury dishes.
Having the right chai menu is just the starting point. Hosting a unique tasting experience around the teas completes the story. Ideas come and go but stories stay.
Behind every cup of tea, there is a story, culture and ritual. Weave these stories together to create memorable tea experiences for your guests. Introduce your guests to the different Chais of India and add a touch of novelty to your offerings.