Different places, cultures and ways of brewing – a cuppa still unites people around the world
November 22, 2020 7:00 AM
Tea can be made in a number of ways and as one likes—with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black or green. We bring to you the most exotic ways of brewing tea from around the world to help you experiment this season.
Cutting Chai - A really hot cup of tea (hence the name) served by the road-side tea stalls found in every city/town/village of India.
By Reya Mehrotra
Tandoor chai Iron tongs are used to place the earthen cup or pot on a hot tandoor. Once the cup is very hot, tea is poured, which makes it froth. This tea is then poured in a kulhad and served. It has a unique smoky flavour to it. India’s first tandoori tea corner was opened by Pune-based Amol Dilip Rajdeo and Pramod Bandkar by the name of ‘Chai La-The Tandoor Tea’ in Pune. The founder was inspired by his grandmother who used to heat turmeric milk in a kulhad on a bonfire. Ever since he introduced tandoor chai, many small shops on the highways of Pune and the outskirts of Mumbai adopted the recipe.
Cutting chai The term ‘cutting chai’ simply means tea cut into half or half a cup of tea. Cutting chai became popular in Mumbai and has now spread to different parts of the country. Initially, cutting chai was offered only at tea stalls, but the idea soon caught up with restaurants. The idea behind the concept is that the working population usually consumes two-three cups of tea a day at the workplace, reducing the amount consumed. As it is consumed in small amounts, tea makers ensure it has the perfect aroma and balance of flavours like cardamom, ginger, anise, etc, and is boiled for a long period of time to make it strong. It is best served with light snacks.
Bubble tea This tea finds its origin in Taiwan around the 1980s. It is popular and iconic in Taiwan. For preparation of two cups of bubble tea, one needs a cup of tapioca pearls, four cups of freshly brewed strong black tea, a teaspoon of sugar and ice cubes, and half a cup of whole milk. There are many variations of bubble tea—including decaffeinated versions, blended with ice cream, smoothies containing tea and fruit, and flavours, including saffron, hibiscus, cardamom or rosewater. The tea also has a number of names. It is also known as boba, pearl tea, black pearl tea, zhen zhou nai cha and more.
French press This method involves using a French press container. Tea is placed in the French press and water is poured over it. When the tea stops brewing after some time, it is poured and consumed. This is the easiest and the most convenient method of brewing multiple cups at a time. The design of the press was first patented in 1929 by Milanese designer Attilio Calimani and gained popularity as a method of brewing coffee.
Blending with infusers If you want to blend the flavours of more than one tea, you can use a tea ball infuser and use tea leaves of more than one type to get the desired flavour. Tea ball infusers are similar to tea bags, but can be reused again and again. Once the leaves are strained completely in the hot water, the infuser can be pulled out before one begins to sip. They are easily available online and best preferred in stainless steel material or in silicone. They are best used for making green tea or black tea.
Cold brew tea This method requires pouring cold water over tea leaves and refrigerating it for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to infuse. The time-taking process has refreshing results with a sweet flavour as not much caffeine is released this way. Hence, the method is better for health reasons. Cold brew teas are best had in summers and early winters.
Grandpa style As the name suggests, this is a traditional way of brewing tea, which is best consumed while chatting over long hours. This method requires brewing tea in a large cup in hot water without any strainers or tea bags for about five to 15 minutes and having the tea without straining it of its leaves. Once the tea is over, one can refill the mug until the leaves lose their taste. Green, yellow and white teas are best brewed grandpa style. This method of brewing is common in China, especially among the older population which loves to sip their tea at leisure.
Gongfu brewing This type of traditional Chinese brewing works well with black teas and oolongs. The method involves using more tea leaves, but infusing them for a shorter duration of time for multiple infusions. Gongfu means doing something skillfully and the technique not just brews tea, but brews it with great aroma.