WHAT IS CHAI TEA
Chai tea is a very popular beverage which has its origins in India. ‘Chai’ is nothing but another name given to ‘tea’ in India. This beverage is now gradually becoming popular in other parts of the world as well. The traditional chai tea is prepared using black tea, a mixture of spices, some heavy milk and a sweetener. This tea which is also called ‘Masala Chai’ is now commonly available in coffee and tea shops. This beverage has been immensely loved by all tea drinkers over the years. It is also said to have a number of health benefits. It strengthens the immune system, aids digestion and also has antioxidant properties.
BREWING AND PREPARATION
The method of preparation of chai tea varies from region to region. The primary ingredient used for making it is black tea. However it can also be made using other kinds of tea like oolong tea, green tea or white tea. A number of spices are used to make this tea. The spices which are used depend on the region where the tea is being made and the availability of the spices there. Usually, it is made using spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, fennel and black peppercorn. Some heavy milk and a sweetener are used to enhance the taste of this beverage. All the spices are brewed together along with the tea leaves.
After the brewing is complete, the final two ingredients which are added to the tea are some milk and a sweetener. The milk can be added to the tea at the time of brewing or it can be added after the brewing process is over. This simple method of preparation makes a delectable cup of chai tea which all tea lovers enjoy drinking it.
BENEFITS OF CHAI TEA
Chai tea has various benefits and its said to be good for the health in a number of ways. The black tea which is used for making this beverage is rich in antioxidants. This helps in keeping cholesterol within limits and also prevents cardio vascular diseases.
The spices which are used to make this tea are said to possess various beneficial properties which are good for one’s overall health and well being. Cardamom is good for the heart, kidney and lungs. Cinnamon helps in proper blood circulation, reduces tiredness, it aids digestion and also helps in balancing blood sugar levels. It is also anti inflammatory. Cloves have antiseptic properties and are also said to be pain relieving. Black pepper is good for chronic colds and it also enhances metabolism. It also has anti oxidant properties and helps in proper digestion. Ginger strengthens the immune system and improves circulation. Fennel is said to be very good for the kidneys, it is also a good source of vitamin C, fibre and potassium. The spices on the whole produce a soothing effect on the mind. Chai tea is also a great reliever of stress.
CAFFEINE CONTENT IN CHAI TEA
Black tea, which is the main ingredient of chai tea, contains some amount of caffeine. Hence, chai tea will also certainly contain some amount of caffeine. The chai tea however, will have minimal caffeine if decaffeinated tea is being used to make it. If a tea cup is being made using eight ounces of decaffeinated tea, then it will have a caffeine content ranging between 2 to 10mg.
The level of caffeine in a cup of chai tea depends on a number of factors. It depends on the kind of black tea which is being used to make the tea, the brewing time and the method of preparation. Hence, it is quite difficult to measure the exact amount of caffeine present in a cup of chai tea. An approximate value can however be determined. Milk is added while preparing it. Therefore, a cup of chai tea will have lower caffeine content than a cup of black tea.
CHAI TEA LATTE
Chai tea latte which is available in coffee shops is generally made from black tea, spices and steamed milk. Sixteen ounces of chai tea latte will have around 95 mg of caffeine. Twelve ounces of chai tea latte will contain around 70 mg of caffeine. Chai tea latte mixtures are also available. These mixtures are available in the powder or concentrate form. Milk or water has to be just added to prepare this tea. The concentrated form of this mixture will contain 25 to 30mg of caffeine per cup. The powdered form of the mixture will have higher caffeine content when compared to the concentrated form.
The chai tea which is prepared at home by brewing will have a different level of caffeine content when compared to the other kinds of chai tea. This tea is prepared by brewing it with a tea bag or tea leaves and the spices. Afterwards, the milk and sweetener is added to it. The brand of tea which will be used for the preparation will have a specific caffeine content. The caffeine content is usually labelled on the packet of tea being used. A cup of such tea will contain around 50 mg of caffeine approximately. The caffeine which is present in chai tea is in moderate amounts and is said to have a number of health benefits.
The caffeine in this tea is said to act as a stimulant and reduce fatigue. Research has also proven that consumption of caffeine in moderation is good for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine however should not be consumed in higher amounts. It can lead to insomnia, shakiness, nervousness and heart palpitations. Hence, care should be taken in keeping a watch on the consumption of caffeine. Drinking a cup of chai tea will certainly be a good option. The caffeine consumption will be in moderation and you will enjoy the various health benefits of this kind of tea.