What are two common drinks in India?

Answered by Edward Huber

India is a country known for its rich and diverse agricultural produce, and the beverage industry is no exception. When it comes to popular and commonly consumed drinks in India, two prominent beverage crops stand out – coffee and tea. These beverages have been an integral part of Indian culture and have a long-standing history of consumption.

1. Coffee:
Coffee cultivation in India has a fascinating history that can be traced back to the 17th century when it was introduced by the Sufi saint Baba Budan to the hills of Karnataka. Since then, India has become one of the major coffee-producing countries in the world. The regions of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu are known for their coffee plantations, with each region having its unique flavors and characteristics.

A) Arabica Coffee: Arabica coffee, known for its mild and aromatic flavor, is one of the most popular varieties produced in India. It is grown in the higher altitudes of the Western Ghats, which provide ideal conditions for its cultivation. These coffee beans are known for their smooth taste, pleasant acidity, and subtle fruity undertones.

B) Robusta Coffee: Robusta coffee is another significant variety cultivated in India. It is mostly grown in the plains of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Robusta coffee beans are known for their higher caffeine content and stronger, more bitter flavor profile compared to Arabica. They are often used in blends to add body and intensity to the coffee.

C) South Indian Filter Coffee: One iconic preparation method that showcases the love for coffee in South India is the “South Indian Filter Coffee.” It is made by brewing dark roasted coffee powder in a traditional metal filter called a “decoction filter” and then mixing it with hot frothy milk and sugar. This aromatic and flavorful coffee is often served in stainless steel tumblers and enjoyed with snacks like biscuits or traditional South Indian breakfast dishes like dosa and idli.

2. Tea:
Tea is another widely consumed beverage in India and holds a special place in Indian households. India is one of the largest tea producers globally and is renowned for its diverse tea-growing regions and the distinct flavors they offer.

A) Assam Tea: Assam, a state in Northeast India, is famous for its robust and malty black tea. The region’s fertile plains and the Brahmaputra River create the ideal conditions for tea cultivation. Assam tea is known for its strong, bold flavor and deep reddish-brown liquor. It is often enjoyed with milk and sugar and is the base for the popular “Masala Chai” consumed across the country.

B) Darjeeling Tea: Darjeeling, located in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal, produces one of the world’s finest and most sought-after teas. Darjeeling tea is known for its delicate flavor, floral aroma, and light golden liquor. The unique combination of high altitude, cool climate, and misty mountain slopes gives Darjeeling tea its distinctive character. It is often enjoyed without milk and is best savored on its own to appreciate its nuanced flavors.

C) Masala Chai: Masala Chai, or spiced tea, is a beloved and popular beverage in India. It is made by brewing black tea leaves with a blend of aromatic Indian spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. This flavorful and warming beverage is often prepared with milk and sweetened with sugar or jaggery. Masala Chai is not only a staple in Indian households but also a quintessential part of Indian street culture, with vendors serving it piping hot in small clay cups known as “kulhads.”

Coffee and tea are two of the most common and widely consumed beverages in India. The diverse flavors and cultural significance associated with these beverages make them an integral part of the Indian culinary experience. Whether it’s the aromatic South Indian Filter Coffee or the soothing flavors of Assam and Darjeeling tea, these beverages have become an intrinsic part of Indian culture and continue to be cherished by people across the country.