5 Signs That You’re “Going Indian” at Tea Time

Indian Spiced Chai (ETS image)
Indian Spiced Chai (ETS image)

Your tea time evolution, as started in 5 Signs That You’re “Going British” at Tea Time, takes another turn as the influence of the second largest tea exporting country in the world takes hold. How do you tell if this evolution is taking place? Here are 5 signs that you’re “going Indian” at tea time:

1 Vocabulary Expansion

The word “masala” becomes a favorite part of your vocabulary as your eyes keeps drifting to the “chai masala” in the spice cupboard. You bought it awhile ago when shopping in the international section of the local grocery. Suddenly and perhaps a bit desperately you need to give it a go. (“Chai” means “tea” and “masala” means spice, and “chai masala” means a spice blend just for tea.)

2 Tea Preference Changes

Since you have succumbed to that Siren-like call of the chai masala, your choice of teas has had to change, too. Some are more suited to the process used for making the more authentic version of “masala chai” (spiced tea). The main tea is a CTC style of Assam. (See What Is “CTC Assam”? for more info.) However, I have found other teas equally suitable, including English Breakfast Blend No. 1 (a blend of the finest Assam, Kenyan and other choice teas) and Irish Breakfast Tea (a stout robust blend of February Kenya BP1 and 2nd flush Assam).

3 Preparation Alteration

You start heating a saucepan of milk to make cocoa, and make masala chai instead. It just sorta seems to happen. There you are with that milk all ready to go and, instead of that cocoa, you grab the tea and the masala and add some water to the saucepan.


  • 2 tsps dry Assam tea
  • 1/8 tsp tea masala (adjust the amount as needed)
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 2/3 cups of whole milk (you could use reduced fat milk or soy “milk”, but skim/fat free milk is not recommended)


  • Put the tea, masala, and water in a saucepan.
  • Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add milk and bring back to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for another 3 minutes.
  • Strain into mugs and enjoy.

4 Tea Time Treat Transformation

Scones and clotted cream and raspberry preserves are a very British treat at tea time. But as you “go Indian,” you will find yourself going for the naan and chutney instead. My favorite flavor is mango, but you might want to go with something more unusual like Spicy Tomato Chutney by Elizabethan Pantry. Naan is also good when cut into toaster slot sized pieces, lightly toasted, and then buttered.

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

You find yourself switching from a dainty dress (and even a hat and little white gloves) or a nice pair of slacks and shirt (or even a suit and tie) to more exotic attire. The sari (or saree) for women and a knee-length jacket with loose pants for the men (sometimes called a Jodhpuri suit) are some options.

So how did you measure up?

Has your tea time “gone Indian”? If it has, good for you! If it hasn’t, what are you waiting for? Get that saucepan out, prepare some masala chai, toast some naan, and enrobe yourself appropriately. You might even want some appropriate music to set the right mood. Namaste!

See also:
Chai Tea at the Indian Restaurant
Tea Terminology — “Chai Tea” vs. “Masala Chai”

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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