Sometimes accidents can create the most important inventions. One such accident that occurred centuries ago resulted in forming a pleasant-smelling concoction, now known as tea. Known to originate in China, tea is, in fact, enjoyed throughout the world in various forms, the most popular ones being green tea, oolong tea, black tea, chai tea and matcha tea. Using these basic types as the base, tea manufacturers have come up with many unique varieties by mixing different herbs and spices brewed in steaming water with or without milk. The masala tea is a relatively newer variety in the market, albeit a popular one. You can look up for masala tea online to gauge how immensely popular this beverage has become over the recent years. Also read Kadak Masala Chai Tea: Reasons to Opt for Auric Kadak Masala Chai
What is Masala Tea?
Typically, masala tea is made by brewing black tea with ‘masala’ or Indian herbs and spices, which are the key masala tea ingredients. However, every tea manufacturer and tea connoisseur makes masala tea with variations of spices which renders a unique flavour to each cup of masala tea. As a result, it is an immensely popular variety of tea in India and is also found in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Found on railway stations, street carts, bus stops, fancy tea shops and even paan dabbas (betel leaf shops), masala tea is easily the most consumed drink in these countries. Most people's day begins by drinking masala tea, which is believed to help them kickstart their lazy mornings and energise their body and soul. The different masala tea ingredients give different tastes to the tea. Some like to end their day with a cup of steaming masala tea to instantly reinvigorate their fatigued body after a long day at work.
What are the essential masala tea ingredients?
Tea lovers and connoisseurs worldwide like to experiment with different types of tea, herbs, spices and sweeteners to create unique infusions of tea. Therefore, there are many recipes for masala tea online. For the masala tea, the essential masala tea ingredients that are common to all recipes are listed below:
When the British discovered tea in India, they set up tea plantations in Assam, Darjeeling and Mussoorie. Although the original form of masala tea did not rely on or need the Camellia sinensis assamica tea plant, after discovering this specific tea plant variety in India, the Assam and Darjeeling black teas began to be used as the masala tea base. However, certain varieties of green tea, such as the South African herb red rooibos and yerba mate, can also be used to brew masala teas.
Spices and herbs
An essential constituent of the masala tea ingredients is the ‘masala’ or spices used in the masala tea. The type of masala used varies depending on the geographical location, climate and cultural influence. The most common and traditionally used masala tea ingredients are cardamom, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Some traditional masala tea recipes also use spices like vanilla, mace, star anise, fennel and nutmeg. The inclusion of western spices like cacao, saffron, bay leaf, and allspice is seen in recent varieties of masala tea. Kadak tea is a variation of masala tea that has become quite popular in recent times in the Middle East countries, such as UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Kadak tea is made using evaporated milk and spices such as cardamom and saffron and has a strong and rich taste, hence the name kadak or Karak.
Moringa tea is a popular masala tea based on brewing a concoction of herbs called the Moringa leaves. This tea is mainly used for its health benefits. The next section of this article lists the masala tea benefits and highlights the benefit of moringa tea.
Although cow and buffalo milk is the primary source of dairy amongst masala tea ingredients used in masala tea in India, newer sources of milk such as oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are being preferred by lactose-intolerant masala tea lovers. It is entirely up to the preference of the tea lover, whether they like their masala tea and spices to be brewed in all milk or a mixture of milk and water. It is best to ditch water and use milk for a richer and creamier masala tea. Kadak tea is often made by using milk only.
Typically, white sugar is the most commonly used sweetener amongst masala tea ingredients. However, it can be substituted with brown sugar, honey, and jaggery. Jaggery masala tea, known popularly as ‘gudh ki chai’, is a widespread variety of masala tea served in northern India during winters.
Tips for Brewing Masala Tea
- When you’re using milk as a base to brew your masala tea, such as kadak tea, make sure that you boil it, or it may give off a burning odour, changing the flavour of the masala tea.
- When using water, make sure to use fresh and cold filtered water while brewing. Cover with a lid to make sure the heat does not escape.
- Check the label on the brand of masala tea you’re buying for special brewing instructions, specific temperatures and steeping times.
- For herbal tea like moringa tea, steep the tea leaves for up to 15 minutes in one-half cup of boiled water. For the regular masala tea, perform the same procedure for 5 minutes. If you would like to add milk, heat it separately. Once the tea mixture is ready, stir in milk and sweetener as per your preference. Strain the mixture. Drink it to your heart’s delight.
- Make sure not to oversteep a masala tea blend as it may release some form of bitterness if kept longer than required. To prevent this from happening, taste your tea after the recommended seeping time is complete. If you feel that it needs to be stronger, you can steep it for a longer time.
- Just as the steeping time varies between different kinds of tea, the steeping temperature also varies. For masala tea based on green tea leaves, the tea leaves should be steeped at a temperature between 70-80 degrees Celsius for up to 5 minutes. When black tea is used as your masala tea base, it needs to be steeped at a higher temperature, preferably between 90-100 degrees Celsius, for 3-5 minutes.
Masala Tea Benefits
Besides its strong aroma and variety of flavours, masala tea is also known for its several benefits. When you read about masala tea online, you will come across many articles stating masala tea benefits. The masala tea benefits include:
Since masala tea is brewed with natural ingredients like herbs and spices, it is quite useful to boost our immune system. In particular, the cinnamon and clove, which are a part of the masala tea ingredients, have medicinal properties. When used together, their medicinal properties are enhanced further, and a shield of immunity is created that weakens infections and promotes our overall health and well-being.
Anti-inflammatory in nature
Certain masala tea ingredients and spices such as ginger and clove are anti-inflammatory in nature and are, therefore, very useful for our body. Their anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial amongst people with inflammatory diseases such as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, polycystic ovarian syndrome, knee pain, joint pain and more.
Poor digestion and constipation are amongst the common health problems that people face. The simple masala tea ingredients such as cardamom, tulsi leaf, clove and ginger aid digestion.
Among the basic masala tea ingredients is black tea, a powerful anti-oxidizing agent. When used with clove and cardamom, it helps people fight cholesterol levels naturally without using medicines. Reducing cholesterol also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing plaque formation. The blood pressure and heart rate of our bodies are also regulated by the masala tea ingredients like ginger which improve blood circulation.
The benefit of Moringa tea
When understanding the benefits of masala tea, we can learn about the benefit of moringa tea, a herbal masala tea. Besides being packed with anti-oxidants and having anti-inflammatory properties, the benefit of moringa tea is that it can also help fight malnutrition. This is because the Moringa tree has great nutritional value and is also known as the miracle tree. People lack access to basic amenities in many countries, including nutritious food and clean water. Moringa leaves are used in such areas because they are vitamin-rich and contain minerals to prevent hunger.
Moringa tea promotes weight loss as it is low in fats and rich in essential vitamins and minerals that help in burning stored fat. In addition, since they are known to boost metabolism, they promote energy production instead of storage of fat. This is one of the important masala tea ingredients.
Reduce blood sugar
Another benefit of moringa tea is that it contains chlorogenic acid, an anti-oxidant and keeps blood sugar levels under control. Being rich in Vitamin- C, moringa leaves also can reduce blood sugar and blood pressure.
When you look up masala tea online, you will come across various brands and types. To know which is the best masala tea, you can check the customer reviews and ratings for the brand of masala tea online. There are many types available but choosing the best masala tea online is important.
Now that your brain is filled to the brim with all that is out there for masala tea online, which one is most likely going to be in your cup? And how would you like it, the good old kadak tea or a milk-free lighter version of masala tea? Which are your favourite masala tea ingredients? Don’t be afraid to try them all; after all… tea is life!Also read Masala chai : A complete guide
Authored By: Divya Shankar
About Author: Divya Shankar is a multifaceted content writer with 7+ years of experience. She has exclusive writing expertise in ayurveda.