India gained independence from British rule in 1947. Delhi was made the capital of the new nation. In the decades since independence, Delhi has undergone rapid urbanization and has become an economic and cultural center, yet the British influences ingrained in its society remain. One such tradition is India’s love of all things tea.
The British introduced the flavorful beverage to India in the early 19th century, becoming popular among the British and Indian elites. They also introduced the tradition of afternoon tea, which involved drinking it with sandwiches and pastries in the afternoon. Embraced by the Indian elite, tearooms popped up and became popular places to socialize and enjoy a cup.
So, where can you “carry on and get “tea-on”?
Here’s a list of famous places in Delhi where you can sip and enjoy:
- India International Centre: Located in the heart of Delhi, the India International Centre is a popular spot for tea lovers. The tea lounge at the IIC serves a variety of teas, along with sandwiches, pastries, and other light snacks.
- The Imperial Hotel: The Imperial Hotel, a luxurious 5-star hotel in Delhi, has a beautiful lounge, called “The Atrium.” Their stunning room serves a wide range of drinks, along with sandwiches, cakes, and pastries.
- The Oberoi Hotel: The Oberoi Hotel, a 5-star hotel in Delhi, boasts a lounge, called 360. The restaurant serves French pastries, such as macarons and scones, including light snacks and sandwiches.
- Taj Palace Hotel: The Taj Palace Hotel, a luxurious 5-star hotel in Delhi, has a lounge called “The Tea Lounge.” The restaurant serves a range of tisanes, along with sandwiches, pastries, and other light snacks.
- The Roseate: The Roseate, a luxurious 5-star hotel in Delhi, has a lounge called “The Roseate Room.” The Roseate’s cafe serves a range of teas, along with sandwiches, pastries, and other light snacks.
Did you know?
India is known for its diverse tea culture, with different regions of the country having their own unique tea blends and traditions. However, Chai stands out as the most popular flavor across India. Chai, also known as Masala Chai, is a spiced concoction made using black tea leaves, milk, sugar, and a blend of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
It is consumed by millions of people across India daily and is considered an integral part of the country’s social and cultural fabric. Chai is usually prepared fresh and is often enjoyed with snacks or as a mid-morning or evening pick-me-up.
Whether at home or street-side stalls, Chai is a staple beverage in India, transcending India’s class system and cultural boundaries to become a drink loved by all.
A little history:
Chai is a type of tea that is made from a mixture of spices and tea leaves. The exact recipe can vary, but most chai blends include a combination of the following ingredients:
- Black tea: This is the base of the drink and provides the brew’s flavor.
- Spices: A typical mix of spices in chai includes cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, black pepper, and nutmeg. Some Chai blends might also include additional spices like fennel, anise, or star anise.
- Milk: Chai is often made with milk, which adds creaminess and helps to balance the spices. Some people prefer to use alternative milk sources such as soy milk or almond milk.
- Sweetener: To balance the flavors and counter the spiciness, Chai is often sweetened with sugar or another sweetener like honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup.
The ingredients are simmered down to infuse the flavors together. The resulting drink is warm, spicy, and slightly sweet. The spices in Chai are believed to have numerous health benefits, including aiding digestion and boosting the immune system.
The origins of Chai can be traced back to ancient India, where it was consumed for its medicinal properties and spices were added for flavor and health benefits. The specific combination of spices and tea that we now know as Chai was developed over centuries through a process of cultural exchange and regional variation.