The single thing uniting all castes, ages and socio-economic classes is chai, India’s ubiquitous tea. Alsways fresh, chai is prepared by boiling milk and water with various spices. While the recipe may differ depending on where you are, you’re likely to find black tea mixed with a spicy blend of cardomom, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves.
The solid tea and spice residues are strained off from masala chai before serving. It should be a light brown color, almost beige, and is typically served in a small glass or paper cup.
Chai is served at any and all times of day. You’ll see street vendors walking around with tea kettles and plastic cups, making deliveries to shop clerks and patrons. You’ll see it on the trains and in every restaurant. It’s gourmet in a glass and you’ll never pay more than 20 cents. It’s the taste of India.