Masala Chai named the second best non-alcoholic drink in 2023

TasteAtlas has revealed the world’s most loved alcohol-free beverages and Mexico’s Aguas Frescas takes the crown at number one

Faiza Saqib
Wednesday 17 January 2024 06:56 GMT
How To Make Chai Masala

Masala chai has been named the second-best non-alcoholic beverage in the world.

TasteAtlas, an encyclopedia of traditional dishes, local ingredients, and authentic restaurants from around the world - has revealed the world’s most loved alcohol-free beverages.

Taking the crown at number one was Mexico’s Aguas Frescas, a drink which is "made with a combination of fruits, cucumbers, flowers, seeds, and cereals blended with sugar and water.”

But following closely behind was the much-loved masala chai and it seems we just can’t seem to get enough of a warm cup of tea.

Masala chai is an Indian beverage, which is made by brewing black tea with fragrant spices, sugar and milk. The word “Chai” means “tea” in Hindi and “masala” means “spices”. The word “chai” roots from the Mandarin word “chá”.

Chai is consumed in many different parts of the world, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Qatar as well as many other countries. But it seems the masala chai from India topped the ranks and made it to second place.

Masala chai is made with fragrant spices, sugar and milk
Masala chai is made with fragrant spices, sugar and milk (Getty Images)

Revealing the news in an Instagram post, the food guide wrote: “Chai masala is an aromatic beverage originating from India. It is made with a combination of sweetened black tea and milk that is spiced with a masala mix-which typically includes cardamom, ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and black peppercorns.

“However, the choice and the exact proportion of spices often vary. Although there are several theories that claim otherwise, the origin of chai masala is mostly associated with the British tea trade."

The post continued: “In the 19th century, the Chinese had a monopoly on the tea trade, and the British looked for other markets that would fulfill the high demand for black tea—which was a firm European favorite.”

TasteAtlas said the British continued their “quest” which soon “brought them to India, where they started to set up tea plantations.”

It is believed that masala chai “first appeared during that period, but it only became a popular option in the 20th century when the Indian Tea Association promoted tea breaks as a much-needed refreshment for workers and when tea became more affordable.”

In India, masala chai is usually prepared in and sold at “chaiwallahs” (tea seller) stalls. But given the drink’s immense popularity, it is now enjoyed around the world.

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