With 3000 varieties, tea is the second most-consumed drink in the world, after water. And a proud moment for us as India is the second-biggest tea producer globally, China being first. Tea, aka chai, is more than a mere beverage; it is a comfort drink. Whether you're tired, unwell, or sleepy, chai always comes to your rescue.
We, Indians, consume 70% of our produced tea within the country itself. This goes on to show how much we love our chai. But when it comes to choosing the best chai patti in India, there are distinctive flavours available. From Vahdam Teas to Tea Box and Tata Tea, many popular chai brands allow you to pick from various flavours, including masala chai, tulsi chai, and adrak chai. This article has been reviewed by a professional food blogger, Arsh Deol.
Arsh is a professional food blogger and is currently pursuing a master's in Hospitality and Catering Technology. He did a bachelor's in Hotel Management and Catering Technology and has worked with ITC Windsor Bengaluru in the front office department.
mybest editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in India in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Table of Contents
From masala chai to green and black tea, different tea types and flavours are available in the Indian market. So, how do you decide which kind of chai patti or brand to choose? Here's a buying guide to help you select and brew the perfect cup of tea.
Whether you are in a rush, or take time to prepare your tea, or prefer efficiency over taste, there are different forms of tea for you to choose from. There is loose leaf tea, tea bag, and powdered chai available in the market. In this section, we'll go through the pros and cons of each one.
Tea bags are the most cost-effective option of tea. They are especially useful for people who are looking for convenience as tea bags have pre-portioned ingredients popped in handy little bags. You just need to drop a bag in warm water, leave it for 2-3 minutes, and your tea is ready.
The tea that goes into a tea bag is often made using the crush, tear, and curl method, i.e., CTC method. It is said that since the tea leaves are no longer whole, the quality and taste of the chai is slightly weaker than the one with loose leaf. That said, the preparation using tea bags saves both time and effort. This type suits those who are always on-the-go
A tea bag is a small pouch/bag which contains tea leaves. Tea bags are the easiest way to make tea, all you need to add hot piping water/milk to it. Tea bags are made of filter paper or food-grade plastic and can be used multiple times.
They are the easiest and economical option, especially if you're travelling. The only drawbacks are: they don't contain all healthy compounds of tea and don't have the rich/natural flavour of regular tea.
Loose-leaf tea is used to make traditional Indian-style chai. It is a preferred choice in households because it has a more intense, aromatic flavour, giving you the flexibility of choosing exactly how strong you like your chai. The quality and taste of loose-leaf tea are slightly superior to tea bags.
This form of tea comes packed in one large bag or resealable tin and hasn't been portioned out for you. So, its preparation requires a bit more time and effort. You also need to buy additional accessories like strainers/infusers and teapots. Loose-leaf tea tends to be more costly, but it does taste better than a teabag.
Basically, loose leaf tea does not come prepackaged in tea bags. It has its natural aroma and flavour. There are different possible ways to prepare loose leaf tea. For example- Brewing with an infuser, with a teapot, or by using a french press.
It might take a while to prepare your loose leaf tea, but it is indeed worth the wait. Also, it has many health benefits, such as it helps in digestion, good for heart health, and boosts immunity.
Powdered chai is a mixture of instant tea, powdered milk, chai spices (cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon), and sweetener. It tastes sweet and has a mild flavour which is far from how traditional chai tastes. But if you're looking for something that tastes like chai latte from Starbucks' and Dunkin' Donuts, then powder chai is the best option to recreate that flavour.
This chai form saves even more preparation time, as you just need to add a spoon full of powdered chai into warm water. So, if you're a drink-on-the-go type of chai lover, this one is definitely for you. However, these types of hot drinks are packed with extra sugars, which can affect your diet if you're cutting down on sugar.
Powdered chai is packed with more sugar than what you'd add yourself in a tea. Some of them contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and preservatives such as BHA to keep the product fresh. Either of these products is not good for your health. So, if you're trying to avoid sugar in your diet then powdered chai will not help with the purpose.
Powdered chai is both a bit spicy and sweet with a very nice fragrance. It helps boost our heart health, reduce blood sugar levels, and most importantly, helps in weight loss. Mostly it is preferred by youngsters to prepare chai lattes. Chai latte is a drink that contains more milk and less chai than the typical cup of chai.
Chai is one of the popular milk teas in India made with black tea leaves, milk, and sugar. However, many different types of teas also come from the plant Camellia sinensis, like white tea, green tea, and oolong tea. The processing time and processing technique create these different types.
Black tea undergoes the most extended processing, where the leaves are harvested and then dried using direct sunlight or air to speed up the process. Once they are dried, they are processed either using the CTC method or the orthodox method.
In the orthodox method, tea leaves are fully oxidised by machine or hand to give a rich flavour and dark colour to the dried loose tea. Black tea contains the highest levels of caffeine, which makes them a good source to protect the lungs from cigarette smoke and reduce the risk of stroke.
It is also recommended to those who suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms or have a weak physical condition. Black tea has a bold, earthy flavour, which makes it a great choice for coffee drinkers and tea lovers. Depending on how much the black tea is processed, its flavours may vary from floral notes to nutty undertones.
Black tea is the most oxidized tea compared to all other teas. It is stronger in flavour, non-sweetened in taste, and contains more caffeine than any other tea. Black tea is also called the less-calorie tea. But, it is said that excess consumption of black tea might cause some health issues like anxiety and disturbance in sleep.
Oolong is considered semi-oxidised tea as its oxidation process is shorter than black tea. At the end of the oxidation process, the leaves are heated using the pan-firing method so they don't continue fermenting. In terms of flavour, the heavily oxidised oolong teas have a stronger, earthier flavour.
But those which are lightly oxidised are lighter and more floral. Oolong tea contains polyphenol, which acts as an antioxidant and effective in controlling the fat metabolism in the body. Therefore, people use this tea to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. People like students and those who work overtime can refresh themselves with several cups of oolong tea throughout the day.
However, it is not recommended to drink oolong tea on an empty stomach as it can aggravate your hunger feelings, leading to headache, dizziness, and feeling of nausea. Also, pregnant women are not recommended to drink this tea as it is said to potentially affect the health of the fetus.
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea. It has many health benefits for the heart, health brain, bone, and dental health. But it is mostly preferred because it helps in weight loss, as it improves fat burning speed and boosts metabolism. Also, it decreases the risk of developing diabetes.
Green tea undergoes a minimal production process – the Camellia Sinensis leaves are steamed to create green tea. Since the leaves are not oxidised, green tea retains the nutritional ingredients, including vitamins, chlorophyll, amino acids, and EGCG (a powerful antioxidant with potential health benefits).
This tea is cold in nature and, therefore, has a good effect on clearing internal heat and helping you keep calm. Green tea also helps improve brain function and strengthen the immune system. However, it may cause stomach irritation if you have a sensitive stomach or a poor digestive system.
Green tea is dried using one of the two methods, i.e., pan-firing or steaming. Depending on these processes, the flavour of green tea varies from earthy to grassy and floral. Steamed green teas have more of a herbaceous flavour (relating to herbs) while pan-fired ones have a nuttier and earthy flavour. Green tea contains caffeine, but its quantity is less than that present in black tea.
Green tea is considered one of the most healthy beverages. Green tea has all the natural compounds with various health benefits. It helps in reducing weight and the risk of several diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It is suggested not to consume green tea at bedtime as it contains caffeine.
White tea is unfermented, which makes it the most minimally processed teas of all types. Only the youngest buds and leaves are used to make this type of tea. Because of the minimal processing, white tea has the highest level of antioxidants. Its intake may provide relief to diabetic people and those with symptoms of constipation.
White tea isn't popular among Indians, but it is truly one of the rare luxuries for tea lovers. Its subtly sweet flavour, and light and airy texture makes the flavour linger on your taste buds. White tea is typically pale yellow or light golden when brewed.
White tea has a very delicate flavour and is a bit sweet. It might be less famous than black tea or green tea, but it has a better and smooth flavour and deliver the same health benefits. Moreover, white tea contains more antioxidants than green tea.
Turmeric chai has gained immense popularity in the country, especially during the time of the pandemic. The chai tastes slightly bitter, but the antioxidant properties of turmeric help strengthen the immune system, which is a need of the hour.
If herbal tea is your calling, you can pick the one containing liquorice or star anise. These ingredients are added as a base flavour in several herbal teas, like Nature Chai and Traditional Medicinals. However, both these flavours are strong and not liked by all.
Chai lovers don't have to worry about their chai/tea flavors anymore, as there are various types of tea flavors available in the market these days. From turmeric to vanilla and from masala chai to cinnamon tea, everything is easily available.
Before buying your favourite flavour chai, check the flavour is not added by any artificial method. I usually prefer green tea, so I have various flavors like green tea with lemon & honey, jasmine green tea, tulsi green tea, etc.
There are many brands available in the market that contain artificial dyes and flavours to make the tea taste better. But these additives can have an adverse health effect on humans. Therefore, it is best to pick brands that have a non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) verified logo.
To help tea farmers' lives, you can also choose tea labelled as fair-trade. This means that the tea is ethically sourced from farms where farmers are paid a fair price for their trade. This will help you drink your cup of chai with a clear conscience.
We usually drink chai because of its various health benefits. But what if we are getting artificial additives in it. While selecting, you must go for an organic product that does not contain any artificial additives or flavours because they might overpower the health benefits of your chai. Also, do check for the non-GMO verified logo.
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Original Chai - Spiced Black Tea
This Masala Chai is Love at First Sip
Enjoy the Goodness of Real Herbs and Spices
Punjabi Masala Chai
When You Need a Bit of Spice in Your Life
Single Serve Masala Chai Latte
Powdered Tea That Isn't Too Sweet
A Mix of Assam CTC and 15% Gently Rolled Long Leaves
Red Label Natural Care
An Immunity Booster Ayurvedic Tea
Regular Tea Rich in Anti-Oxidants
Twinings of London
An Exquisite Balance of Taste, Flavour, and Aroma
A Royal Chai Blend to Reflect, Relax, and Indulge
Tulsi Masala Chai
Sweet, Spicy, and Enlightening Flavoured Chai
Vahdam Teas is a homegrown brand that has a legacy of over 80 years in the Indian tea industry. All their teas are packaged at the source to deliver you the freshest tea right at your doorsteps. Vahdam Teas' Original Chai is one of their most popular teas that's delivered to over 83 countries.
The garden-fresh tea is made with the choicest ingredients - cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and clove. It is available in a 100-gram bag of loose-leaf tea. The tea has the best aroma and taste and has various health benefits like boosting immunity, improving digestion, and detoxifying the body. The brand also practices fair-price trade to give farmers a better price for their produce.
With the go-to motto of wellness, Vahdam offers this herbal tea enriched with the ayurvedic goodness of sun-dried turmeric and white ashwagandha. While turmeric is rich in antioxidants, ashwagandha helps relieve stress, build immunity, and improve energy. You can drink this tea during work/study hours to improve concentration.
One box of Turmeric Ashwagandha Tea contains 15 tea bags for easy infusion and to prepare a fresher, flavourful cup of tea. The herbal tea contains other healing, rejuvenating, and energising ingredients too, like black pepper, lemongrass, and liquorice which makes this tea one of the finest ones.
Teabox is redefining the tea ritual by delivering the freshest Indian teas straight from the tea gardens of Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiris, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Kangra to the world. The brand has an entire collection of chai blends, available in loose-leaf, tea bags, and tinned form.
The Punjabi Masala Chai by Teabox is an unusually strong masala chai that contains some of the strongest spices from North India – black cardamom and Bishop's weed. What reviewers like about the chai is that many of the spices are added in their raw form, which gives an incredible flavour to the tea. They also appreciate how every flavour shine in every single sip.
Tipu's Chai Now's Masala Chai Latte is an easy to make powdered tea whose recipe has been passed on through generations in Gujarat, India. The tea contains real spices including ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom that you'll find at the bottom of every cup. All these spices have an inviting aroma that lets you enjoy the tea even more.
The blend is already sweetened so, you don't need to add sugar to it. However, reviewers suggest that you can add a bit of silk almond milk sweet cream flavoured creamer if you want to make your drink sweeter. Reviewers love the spicy flavour and aroma of the tea, but they occasionally bite down on some spice that didn't ground properly or drink up the herbal residue at the bottom of the cup, which doesn't taste good.
This pack of rich-tasting coffee by Tata Tea is one of the most popular teas in Indian households. It is made with 85% Assam CTC (Cut, Tear, Curl) and 15% gently rolled long leaves to offer you the finest tasting tea in the country. There are no artificial additives or flavours added, making it a great choice for those looking for an all-natural ingredient tea.
Whether you're feeling under the weather or stressed because of your work schedule, this soothing tea will be your best bet. People who have tasted this, review this as the most tasteful tea ever. However, they say that the tea isn't very strong, in fact, a little mild. But you can add your spices to enhance the flavour.
Brooke Bond is a name Indians rely on for deliciously fresh flavoured tea. The Red Label Natural Care is an immunity booster chai that's based on Ayurveda. It has a complex mix of herbal ingredients, including cardamom that is good for digestion, ginger protects from cough and cold, Tulsi builds body resistance, and mulethi helps soothe the throat.
The tea is available in 100g, 250g, 500g, and 1 kg packets that you can choose from as per your family's daily tea consumption. Reviewers who have tasted the tea say that it is neither too strong nor too light, making it a perfect early morning and evening drink. It has a soothing natural aroma. Also, the tea is quite economical.
Society Tea is a market leader in the tea industry in Maharashtra that delivers high-quality brew across the country. Their Society Leaf Tea is a strong tea, packed with delightful flavours like Darjeeling tea and masala tea and the goodness of antioxidants. If you're a fan of light-coloured brew, then this is the perfect product for you.
In terms of flavour, it is on a milder side. You can shop for individual boxes on Amazon or Society Tea's website. The tea is best served with a dash of milk or lemon to get you feeling energised and revitalised throughout the day. Reviewers like the flavour and aroma of the tea; however, they suggest it would be better to change the packaging to a zip lock bag to retain flavours for next use.
Bursting with flavour, Assam Tea by Twinings delivers a refreshing and unique experience. The tea has a strong, satisfying taste that reduces the symptoms of fatigue. To add your favourite flavour to the tea, you can add the spices separately while boiling the water and then leave the tea bag in the water for about 3 minutes.
Reviewers believe that the tea tastes good but might come across as too strong from some. If you're concerned about keeping a clear conscience while investing in a tea then you should know that Twinings has various programs designed to provide healthcare and education to people across villages. They also help protect worker rights and improve incomes.
Born in the year 1996, Brooke Bond's Taj Mahal contains the essence of the finest tea leaves to give you the perfect balance of strength and flavour. This product is crafted from only one ingredient: fresh tea leaves without artificial additives or preservatives.
Reviewers have found that the tea has a strong and good flavour; strong enough than average black teas. They also say that the tea doesn't look like regular tea leaves. It is more like small granules, so you'll need a fine strainer to get rid of tea granules from settling at the bottom of the cup.
If you're looking for an exotic blend of premium Assam tea, finest Tulsi, and freshly ground organic spices, then this Tulsi Masala Chai is for you. Enriched with less caffeine and great taste, the tea is a daily dose of happiness for chai lovers.
Reviewers say that even if you sprinkle a little bit of the powder in your regular tea, you will get an amazing flavour of spices and a natural aroma to relieve stress. They say that the powder can be used to make tea with or without milk, which makes it a preferred choice. Some reviewers say that they could only taste dalchini, not Tulsi.
Whether you like to drink tea in the morning, or evening, or in between meals, you'd want a snack to go with it. From biscuits to granola, there are many items that you can have with your tea. So, here are a few recommendations from our other articles that might interest you.
No. 1: Vahdam Teas | Original Chai - Spiced Black Tea
No. 2: Vahdam Teas | Turmeric Ashwagandha
No. 3: Teabox | Punjabi Masala Chai
No. 4: Tipu's Chai | Single Serve Masala Chai Latte
No. 5: Tata Tea | Gold
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