India is filled with Chai lovers with Chai (tea) being one of the most important beverages in India. It is a major part of everyday lives and without chai a day is considered as incomplete. And the most important one amongst all being Masala Chai. Indian road sides are packed with Chai vendors who make it in their own ways, giving it an earthy taste. Teas are not just for refreshment, they have some health benefits too. Here is a list of top 20 varieties of tea that every Chai lover should try.
Darjeeling tea is a black tea, grown in Darjeeling or Kalimpong district of West Bengal. Darjeeling teas are known as “Champagne of teas.” It relieves stress and is known to improve cardiovascular health. It also facilitates weight loss. It has been given the Geographical Indication tag since 2004. It is considered the finest in the country and one of the most sought-after in the world.
Grown in Assam, it is also considered as breakfast tea. It is a black tea known for its briskness, body, malty flavour and strong, bright colour. It helps in maintaining weight, regulates high blood pressure and controls diabetes. It has a tangy aroma.
Nilgiri tea is produced in Nilgiri district in Tamil Nadu. The leaves are processed as black tea. It is fragrant, brisk and full-bodied tea. It controls aging, increases bone density, reduces cholesterol and improves overall immune health. Nilgiri tea is also used to make Instant tea and Iced tea.
Noon Chai belongs to Kashmir valley in Jammu and Kashmir. It is also called gulabi chai, shir chai and pink tea. It is a traditional tea beverage made from gunpowder tea (form of tea in which each leaf is rolled into small round ball), baking soda and milk. It prevents bloating, heartburn and reduces stress and anxiety. It is commonly served at breakfast time in Kashmir.
Kashmiri Kahwa is a form of spice flavoured green tea. It is made with several herbs like cinnamon, Ginger, cardamom and saffron. It is fragrant and warming tea that is served hot. It is known to cleanse the stomach, improves digestion and metabolism. It is a refreshing drink served after meal.
It is a traditional drink of Himalayan people of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. It is made from water, salt, yak butter and tea leaves. It is made by tea leaves called pu-erh tea. It is known to mosturise skin, increase energy levels, and boost heart health. It is known as “gur gur cha” in Ladakhi language.
Kangra tea is produced in Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. It consists of both black and green teas. It is known for its color, flavor and aroma. It has been give the Geographical Indication tag in 2005. It is exported to Kabul and Central Asia. It is a refreshing tea beverage.
Green tea is originally from China. In India it is largely grown in Darjeeling, West Bengal. It has a large health benefits, including improved blood flow and lower cholesterol. It improves heart and mental health and regulate body temperature. It comes in many flavours including Mint, Tulsi and Chamomile. It is better for health and tastes better.
Originating in India, it has gained worldwide popularity. It is made by boiling black tea in water and milk with herbs, spices, Ginger and cardamom. The spice mix is called “karha”. It has health benefits. Sugar or jaggery is added for sweetness. This tea has high antioxidants properties, cures dementia and Alzheimer’s, boosts immunity and improves digestion.
Irani chai is a unique tea from all other kinds of tea. It is creamy and sweet, made by adding mawa or khoya to black tea. Herbs and spices are also added accordingly. It is said that Persian migrants came to Mumbai and moved to Pune and Hyderabad, taking with them the Irani Chai. Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai have popular places that serve Irani Chai.
In India, Oolong tea is grown mainly in Assam and Darjeeling. It is made from the plant that produces black and green teas. This tea beverage usually tastes fruity, and floral and is quite light. It burns calories. It is helpful in reducing stress and anxiety and sleep.
This Chai is made by pouring half cooked Chai in hot Kulhad (earthen cup) that is heated in Tandoor. The tea gets fully brewed when poured in heated Kulhad. It has an earthy and smoky flavour that makes it more interesting. It improves heart health, digestion and controls blood sugar levels.
This tea is a herbal tea made from the leaves of lemongrass plant. It has a refreshing flavour. It has lemony taste with little sweetness and brisk finish. It improves blood sugar levels, reduces cholesterol, stimulates the menstrual flow and has antioxidant properties. In India, it is grown in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
White tea is considered as the tea which has young or minimally processed leaves of Camellia sinensis plant. It is considered as one of the most delicate tea varieties. The taste is floral, and fruity. It is a healthy tea which lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Jasmine tea is a tea which is scented with Jasmine aroma. It has green tea as it base but sometimes white and black teas are also used. It has a floral taste and is sweeter compared to other green teas. Jasmine tea is highly fragrant. It is known to boost brain function, prevents risk of cancer and heart disease.
Black tea is grown in Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri district in India. It is stronger compared to other teas. It has a bold and sweet flavour. Black tea has antioxidants which reduce the risk of chronic disease and improves overall health. It is known as “Hong cha” in China where it first originated.
Ginger tea is a herbal beverage made from the root of ginger. It is added to water and then boiled. It is served with orange or lemon slice and maple syrup or honey might also be added to give it a sweet flavour. In India, milk is added to it along with tea leaves and it is also known as “masala chai.”
Herbal teas are made from spices, flowers, fruits and herbs. These materials are added in hot water to generate the flavour. Some herbal teas have been used as natural remedies for centuries. They offer a variety of flavours from lemongrass to chamomile tea. It is known to boost immune system, prevents chronic diseases and stimulates brain function.
Iced tea is a form of cold tea, which gets its flavours from tea leaves. It is sweetened with syrup or sugar. It comes in multiple flavours like raspberry, strawberry, cherry, peach, lemon etc. Sometimes apple slices are also added to give it a flavour. Antioxidants present in it reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, muscular degeneration and cataract.
Yellow tea is a very rare and delicate tea. It has a pleasing aroma, sweet and fruity taste. Honey is added to give it sweetness. It is light in nature. It is known to promote overall health, with antioxidants that are present in it. It also stimulates the metabolism and reduces fat.