India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world. Around 80% of the total tea produced is consumed by the domestic population (1). Tea in India is a gift by the British. India consumes almost 837,000 tonnes of tea yearly, making it India's most favorite beverage (1).
Almost everyone in India begins their day with a steaming cup of morning chai (tea)! It's not just a habit; it's a ritual for most of them. In many households, people prefer milk tea which is black tea mixed with milk & spices like ginger, lemongrass, cardamom, cinnamon, etc. This spiced tea is then brewed strongly and sweetened with sugar.
However, the consumption of non-milk tea without sugar is now trending because of the emergence of lifestyle diseases like CVD, hypertension, diabetes, PCOS, etc. Green tea is gaining a lot of popularity in this segment due to its potential health benefits (1). It is considered as a health beverage.
In every nukkad (corner) or galli (by lane) in India, you will find a chaiwala (tea seller) selling a hot cup of tea. Biscuits and snacks like bhajiya (similar to fritters), samosas, etc are the popular choice of accompaniments with this sweet milk tea beverage.
Tea is an integral part of every Indian household. The significance of drinking tea in India cannot be confined to words. It's a way of life for them.
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