A walk into Starbucks recently, reveals that they are promoting tea. In fact, everyone is drinking more tea. Whether it is black, green, or herbal. However, chai is nothing new. Indians and the Chinese have been drinking it for centuries. Of course, America has discovered its benefits much more recently. It is also a fact that once Americans discover something they make a BIG deal out of it. Such as when mehndi became a popular craze during the 90s. Westerners started applying mehndi all over their body. They misused it to such an extent that today the limitations of mehndi have changed.
But coming back to tea…the word chai has been misused constantly. Chai which literally means tea is translated into America as a spiced tea. These people are too ignorant to realize that although masala chai means spiced tea, chai simply just means TEA! Starbucks and many other coffee and tea shops throughout the nation serve chai or a “chai tea latte” as a spiced, milky tea. Unfortunately, it does not come close to even compare with the chai or masala chai drank in Indian homes! It’s usually prepared with some type of syrup concentrate and is more watery and often very foamy.
To insult chai even more Starbucks is now promoting Berry Chai and Apple Chai. But is it really an insult or an honor? Is it a step ahead or simply just a step towards making money. Personally, I dislike both of these tea “infusions,” as they are known. They are not the type of taste that would suit most Indian palates or are they?
So looks like chai is really hot in 2009! It is “the” thing to drink and it’s definitely more “in” than coffee right now. Sure coffee is still the all-American drink but according to a recent study, 9 out of 10 customers are tea drinkers, whether soley tea drinkers or in addition to coffee. So, say good buy to frappuccinos and get ready for tea time!
[photo credits: starbucks.com, beyondthebean.com, cookingandme.com]