Celebrating National Chai Day

Posted: 09/18/2023

Happy National Chai Day! This day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the national drink of India – and one of our favorite tea varieties – chai. National Chai Day falls on September 21 each year. As the seasons start to change and cooler temperatures head our way in the northern hemisphere, now is the perfect time to steep a cup of your favorite chai tea. Chai tea blends famously include cozy and warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger and peppercorns. Traditionally, these spices were tempered by serving chai tea with lots of yak’s milk, but we know that now, many people around the world enjoy their chai black, with just sweetener, and with a variety of milks and plant
based milks. As chai tea’s popularity has spread, more and more varieties have become available. Now there is a spicy and cozy chai tea blend for everyone. Cutting back on caffeine? Try a Red Tea Chai or an Apple Pie Chai Herbal Tea. Love the chai lattes from your corner coffeeshop? Use an Oatmilk Chai•Latte Capsule or some Tablespoon Chai® Concentrate to make one from the comfort of home.

As the nights grow colder and longer, now is the time to stock up on your favorite spicy chai blend. In India, chai tea is associated with hospitality and is often offered to guests as a sign of respect and welcome. Give guests a warm welcome to your home this fall and winter with a bold and spicy pot of chai tea. If you would like to be able to share some fun chai trivia over a steaming cup of tea, read on to learn more about this delicious tea blend and its important place in Indian culture. 

What is Chai Tea?

Chai tea is a spiced tea blend that originated in the Assam region of India. It is now popular worldwide. The traditional ingredients of a chai tea blend usually include black tea mixed with strong spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns. The spices in chai can change depending on the region and culture you are enjoying it in. Chai tea is steeped strong and is often served with milk and something sweet. Learn more about Chai Tea including the etymology of the name in this article.

Chai Tea Origins

Chai tea has a rich history that dates back over 5,000 years. The ancient origins of chai tea can be traced back to the Assam region in India, where native tea plants were commonly used as herbal medicine. According to legend, a monk traveling to China noticed Assam locals eating the leaves of a native bush that gave them energy and vitality. Eventually the locals started drying the leaves then steeping them into tea rather than chewing them. This tea was used to treat simple illnesses such as the common cold. Over time, warming spices such as cardamom and ginger were added to the traditional herbal tea blend of the region. One legend about the history of chai tea says
that the inclusion of warming spices was the idea of a king who had trouble staying awake during the long hours at court. The combination of the energizing local tea and the spicy kick of ginger and peppercorns was enough to keep him awake even during his most boring meetings. This royal blend became popular throughout the court and the land thereafter.

Chai tea as we recognize it today first appeared In the 1800s. When the British set up Camellia sinensis tea farms in the Assam region of India, the strong black tea grown there quickly became part of the region's traditional spiced tea. Because the black tea was quite expensive, households and vendors alike would add spices, sweetener and milk to the tea so that the tea leaves could be stretched further. Assam black tea blended with warming spices and served sweetened with milk became an iconic part of the region's cuisine. This spicy, sweet and creamy style of serving black tea has become popular around the world and if you have ever enjoyed a cup of chai tea, you understand its enduring popularity. Chai tea is the perfect creamy and spicy treat to enjoy sip by sip.

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