My earliest memories of chai are not of drinking it, but dunking in it. I would occasionally dip biscuits in a cup of tea. And it was a system; I used my mom’s cup always.
Then, around the time I hit middle school, I would insist on helping her in the kitchen. One of the very first things she taught me was how to make a cup of chai. Instantly, it became one of my favourite things to do. I’d stand on a short stool to reach the counter. My mom would give me tasks, to pass the can of sugar or stir the chai as it simmered. She’d act the role of a potion master, combining one part water, two parts milk, a heap of tea leaves and just one spoon of sugar. If it was raining outside or was getting nippy, she’d toss in a few whole spices – cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel… Ginger occasionally found its way in. Chai in a big ceramic mug, with a side of Glucose biscuits has a special place in my heart.
This is chai as I have always known it.
To wake us up in the morning and get our body started, or to get rid of that bad mood and make the day seem much better, that’s the magical thing about chai. If you feel the same way about this brew, here are a few things that we want to say to the world. Slurp your favourite masala chai as you read on…
It’s not just a beverage, it’s a lifestyle
We cannot exchange something so important to us, for coffee! Masala chai lovers have a special place in heaven. These people value the distinct yet intermingled flavours of Indian spices. No other type of drink can ever compete with the refreshing, body-opening, mind-calming, and stress-relieving masala chai. It’s an Indian delicacy.
There is never a wrong time for tea
Simply put, there is no ‘right’ time when it comes to sipping a cup of tea. From the moment we wake up till we go to sleep, chai is always welcome. In fact, we may not always jump with joy at seeing you, but a cup of chai will always do the trick.
Making chai is an art
If you don’t know how to make the perfect cup of chai, please don’t offer to ‘try and make’ it. Adding the right amount of water, sugar, tea leaves and milk requires precision. If you aren’t a pro, you shouldn’t offer to make it.
Everyone has their own version of the perfect masala chai
Some like it kadak, while others prefer a light brew. Some like it with more water and less milk and others like milky sweetness in their cha. So the only way to go about it is to make your own version of this liquid elixir and let it dominate your senses.
Chai in a mason jar? Yes please!
Good things come in small packages. They definitely do, but the size of the tea cup is an exception to this. Whether morning or evening, chai needs to be served in a big mug. Don’t mess up the portion unless you want to deliberately anger us.
Don’t want nothing more
When it comes to chai, it is always quality and never quantity. So questions like “how much tea do you drink in a day!” or “OMG, you just had tea and you want another cup!” doesn’t help anyone. There is no set number of cups you can consume in a day. The more the merrier.
Evening and chai are a match made in heaven
Evenings are anyway a time to relax and that cup of tea (or three) is our saviour. You need it in your system to function enough for the rest of the day. It wakes up your senses, warms your body, relaxes you, and makes you whole again. Not to mention, Indian spices have been said to be beneficial for the body. So it’s masala chai FTW. However, summer and tea have a love-hate relationship. We bear the afternoon sun for that one cup. Now that’s commitment.
Nothing can beat a desi cuppa tea at dhaaba with your friends
Most of us are very finicky about where we eat. We constantly wonder if the utensils are washed in clean water or cleaned at all and if the food is going to give us diarrhoea and other ailments. Irrespective of that, roadside chai is an experience. This includes your kulhad-wali chai, dhaba chai, and that over-sweetened chai at a roadside stall. Sure, you can ask the vendor to adjust to your taste. But that man has regular customers for a reason. So enjoying a refreshing cup under the open sky is an experience all we chai lovers can vouch for.