The History of Chai
Every time we make a cup of chai, our senses are flooded and lovingly overwhelmed. We smell a symphony of aromas that causes us to stop and inhale deeply. We hear the crackling of boiling water invaded by the beautiful spices and herbs, dancing as their flavours meld and marry. But most importantly, the preparation and drinking of chai reminds us of who we are and where we come from.
The history of chai is a complex one, with roots in British colonial rule. According to writer Leena Trivedi-Grenier, in the latter portion of the 19th century, the British East India Company meticulously created a demand for tea in India after being denied the profits of the Chinese tea trade. After gaining control of Assam, India, the East India Company decided to develop tea plantations and to convince an entire nation of Indians to incorporate tea into their daily lives, in a brilliant campaign to increase their sales profits. This campaign led to millions of Indians to incorporate the ritual of a daily cup of tea into their lives. For the Indian people, however, there was a problem - the tea was cheap, bitter, and bland. In a beautiful act of rebellion, many chaiwallas began to incorporate masala, or spices, into the tea they served. The East India Company actively attempted to prevent this practice, as they believed the addition of spices would result in less tea being used, thus decreasing their profits. Despite the company’s efforts, however, Indians rebelled and continued to incorporate various spices, likely from Ayurvedic medicinal brews, into their chai.
Today, each region and each family utilizes different spice blends and recipes to make their daily cup of chai. Our family, which originates from Punjab, passed on a recipe that we are now hoping to share with the masses. We have added herbs and spices with the specific intention of supporting womens’ ever-fluctuating hormones. While our recipe has evolved, our love for the ritual of preparation and sipping of a hot, creamy cup of chai has remained the same.
And just as our ancestors rebelled against the idea of bland and bitter tea, we are now rebelling against the idea of a bland and bitter existence. Take a break with us. We deserve it.
Tula Tea - Blended for balance. Curated for comfort.