Qu'est-ce que le Chai?
What is Chai?
The name “chai” is the Hindi word for “tea”, which originated from the Chinese word “cha”, which means “tea”. So when we say “Chai tea”, we actually say “tea tea”!
Chai in Hindi means a mix of spices infused into a warm tea-like beverage. Recipes for Chai vary across the world. However, nowadays, the traditional ingredients of a Chai typically include black tea mixed with spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, black peppercorns). Chai is usually brewed strong with milk and sweetened with honey or sugar.
However, Chai was not always a sweet milky beverage, as we know it today…
It is said that the origin of Chai dates back more than 5 000 years ago. One of many legends says that an Indian King developed chai to help heal different ailments…and to stay alert during long court hours!:
· Ginger and black pepper stimulate digestion
· Cloves and its antiseptic properties help relieve pain
· Cardamom is a mood elevator
· Cinnamon helps circulation and respiratory function
· Star anise freshens the breath
As the “healing” Chai gained popularity across India, wide varieties of spices were used to prepare the drink, depending on the region or culture.
Surprisingly, original versions of Chai, contained no actual tea leaves. Sugar and milk were also later additions. The British, while ruling India in the 19th century, started cultivating tea to try to reverse the Chinese monopoly on tea supply. It is then that black tea was gradually integrating into the existing Chai and the beginnings of Chai as we know it now occurred.
Today, Chai is undisputedly part of Indian culture and of the world. No matter where you are, you can always enjoy the taste and the health benefits of warm sweet Chai.
Come taste our delicious Chai at le Café de l’horloge. You will love every sip!
Opening every Sunday and Monday starting February 24th!