India’s Masala Chai is the world’s second most popular non-alcoholic beverage

Chai (tea) is truly an emotion for every Indian household. While it was first discovered in China, who for a long time had monopoly on the drink, tea slowly spread to its neighbours, making Indians one of the largest consumers of the liquid. With time, the flavoured drink has also gone through change. Masala Chai — India’s spicy twist to the milk tea — is a favoured drink for a majority of the consumers. Paired with the chilly weather of the winters, the combination paves the way for quality time.  .

Masala Chai
Masala Chai ranks second most popular non-alcoholic beverage in the world. Photo Courtesy: poetryofspices Instagram page

Now, the masala chai has received international recognition as TasteAtlas — an encyclopaedia of traditional dishes, local ingredients, and authentic restaurants from around the world — included the drink in its World’s Best Non-Alcoholic Beverage list.

However, it holds the second place in the list.

The top spot was grabbed by Mexico’s Aguas Frescas.

“Chai masala is the #2 best non-alcoholic beverage in the world in 2023,” TasteAtlas wrote on Instagram.

Speaking on the history of tea, TasteAtlas said: “Although there are several theories that claim otherwise, the origin of chai masala is mostly associated with the British tea trade. 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.”

India’s popular Mango Lassi ranks as number one dairy beverage in the world’ by TasteAtlas. Photo Courtesy: 365daysofeating Instagram page

“Their quest brought them to India, where they started to set up tea plantations. It is believed that chai masala 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, the drink is mainly prepared and sold at challah stalls, but modern interpretations of chai masala are enjoyed around the world,” the post said.

Mango Lassi, Basmati take top spot

Not only Masala Chai but even India’s summer favourite, Mango Lassi, was named as ‘best dairy beverage in the world’ by TasteAtlas.

In its list, TasteAtlas named Basmati, which is widely cultivated in India, as the best rice in the world.