Tea began to be consumed on a large scale in India only after British colonization.
Today India is the second producer and one of the largest tea consumers in the world.
National drink is the Masala Chai, fragrant tea with milk and spices which has gained enormous global popularity over the years. Whether you are in a crowded restaurant, bargaining in a shop, in an elegant hotel or stopping at a street stall, if you're in India, no matter what time of day, it's always time for Masala Chai. Masala means in Hindi "spice mix" and Chai means "tea".
Masala Chai may contain different spices depending on the region and season, with popular ingredients such as cardamom, cloves, fresh ginger and cinnamon, but also saffron, pepper and anise are used. The tea used is strong, broken black tea and the chai is often prepared with as much milk as water. While tea is prepared in almost all of the world by infusion, pouring water on the leaves, chai is prepared for decoction. This means that spices, tea and milk are boiled together, giving the chai its amazing flavour. Sugar is an ingredient key to the chai and can be added both during decoction and just before drinking.
The street stalls selling chai are an excellent place to observe the art of making the perfect chai, with the right texture and colour, simmered for a long time to balance perfectly ingredients.