• Cheryl Brady

No Tea in Chai? It was originally a mix of spices only

Updated: Feb 8

The history of Chai

Dates back to between 5000-9000 years ago to an ancient royal court said to be either India or Siam. It is believed the reigning King created the recipe as a healing, Ayurvedic beverage. It was known as Masala Chai which means spiced tea.


Traditionally India viewed teas as herbal medicine rather than a recreational drink.


Initially Chai was prepared with spices only and was caffeine free. Different regions and households prepared the drink using an array of spices and some made it hot whilst others cold as a remedy for minor ailments. So it was a medicinal drink changing the spices based on the person and ailment.


It was actually not until the 1830's that Black Tea was added to the tea known as Chai.


Why was Black Tea added?

China had a monopoly on supplying Tea to Great Britain.

The British East India Company established tea plantations in Assam in the 1830's to try to reduce the monopoly China had.


Tea Breaks for Workers = Increase in Tea Sales


It was not until the 1900's when there was a campaign by the British East India Company which promoted the provision of 'tea breaks' for workers that tea sales increased. A larger variety of spices were added to the black tea chai mix partly to keep the cost of the mix down. Mores spices and less tea as tea was more expensive.


In the 1960's the popularity of Chai increased again as the mechanical tea production method of CTC (cut, tear, curl) was used. This method produces an inexpensive tea that infuses quickly and has a strong flavour, making it a perfect accompaniment to the sweet spiciness of Masala Chai. During this time the popularity of Chai really gained strength and became a part of the Indian culture and lifestyle.


Common Ingredients in Chai


Cinnamon.

Pepper.

Ginger.

Cloves.

Cardamom.

Raw Sugar.

All Spice.

Star Anise.

Nutmeg.

Fennel.

Bay Leaves.

Honey.



SpiritualiTEA Chai blends


Our Chai's have been created to have as it with boiling water like making a herbal tea. Or with the addition of milk and/or honey/sugar. Try them with boiling water and brewed or brew them with milk and then strain the ingredients. Add honey or sugar if you wish. Adjust to your liking as with all teas.


Hermit Chai

Is a Black tea base with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Star Anise and All Spice.



Spirit Animal Chai

Is a Rooibos base with the same spices as Hermit; Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Star Anise and All Spice. A caffeine free chai. Labels for this tea are coming soon.



Chai today allows for individuality as it was originally intended.

Enjoy your Chai with new insight to this ancient drink.


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