Since the British Raj, the streets of Kolkata have been famous for their bustling tea stalls, offering a unique flavor of tea that has been enjoyed by locals and tourists alike for generations. But is the tea served in Kolkata truly the best in India? Here, we will explore whether street tea from Kolkata is indeed the best in India. We’ll take a closer look at the interesting taste of Kolkata street tea and learn about its history. To make you feel the refreshing taste, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to make this delicious tea at home.
The History of Kolkata Street Tea
Street tea from Kolkata has a long and storied history. Its origins can be traced back to British rule when Indian tea was first introduced to the western world. The British were known for their love of tea and quickly developed a taste for the Indian variety.
Following the end of World War I, tea vendors of Indian and Eurasian descent began peddling their beverages at railway stations around Bengal, Punjab, and the Frontier provinces. The Tea Association proudly proclaimed that one was likelier to find a better cup of tea at the platform tea stalls than in the first-class restaurant cars. Placards and posters advertising tea recipes were posted on several platforms in the local languages, a practice that persists today at stops such as Ballygunge, Dum Dum, Naihati, Bangaon, Shantipur, and Ranaghat.
The Flavor of Tea from the Streets of Kolkata
Tea in the streets of Kolkata is a delicious, aromatic, comforting beverage that has been a staple in the city for times immemorial. The distinct flavor of Kolkata tea is hard to replicate, and these flavors are the offerings of special Assam tea blends. It is a blend of long tea leaves that come together to create an unforgettable taste found all over the city. The best part is you can buy Assam tea online from anywhere globally and get lost in the mesmerizing concoction.
The process of making tea from the lanes of Kolkata begins with the selection of high-quality tea leaves from the local gardens of Assam. The leaves are then processed to create the perfect balance of flavor. On the contrary, black tea is cultivated and processed in the steep hills of Darjeeling. Both the end products are fragrant, sweet teas that entice the taste buds of everyone taking a sip of these magical concoctions.
You can find various kinds of teas in the streets of Kolkata; some prefer milk variants, while others are a fan of black tea. The aroma of milk tea from the streets of Kolkata is heavenly and has been described as a mix of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. The combination of the spices creates a unique flavor, unlike any other tea. And when trying the black tea topped with a dash of lemon juice and rock salt, the refreshing delight will retain a place in your memory. But how to get these flavors at home? Why not buy Assam tea or black tea and try the recipe?
Kolkata Street Tea vs Other Indian Teas
There are many different types of tea available in India, and each region has its own distinct flavor profile. The street tea of Kolkata is often compared to other Indian teas, such as Assam tea and Darjeeling tea. While all three of these teas are from different regions of India, they do share some similarities. For example, all three teas are made from the Camellia sinensis plant and have similar caffeine content. However, some key differences set the tea of Kolkata apart from the others.
The tea served on the streets of Kolkata is usually not spiced much since vendors typically cannot afford the extra ingredients, and their customers are usually of a lower socioeconomic class that cannot pay the extra cost. Additionally, the unique flavor of spiced tea comes from the specific brewing time, milk-to-water ratio, and an extended brewing process that tea stalls rarely have time to perform.
Adding too much or too little milk to tea can ruin the flavor and make it taste pale and bitter. The ideal ratio of milk and water is usually 2:1, creating a balanced palate. But the cup in which the drink is served can also play a role in its taste. To an experienced palate, the difference is obvious. And when the hot tea is poured into an earthen cup, the flavor is slightly altered, producing the unique flavor that one can usually only experience when getting a cup of tea from a street vendor in Kolkata.
How to Make Kolkata’s Popular Street Tea
For a completely wooing experience, you ought to try both the popular variants of Kolkata’s famous tea from its streets. Brew up your cup of heaven by following the recipes.
Black Tea from the lanes of Kolkata
1 cup of water
1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea
Lemon juice- a few drops (optional)
A pinch of Rock salt (optional)
- If black tea is your go-to option, buy oolong tea and place the leaves in a strainer or teapot. Pour the boiling water over the tea and let it steep for 3–5 minutes.
- Take out the tea bag and add some rock salt and some lemon juice. You can add some sugar too.
Your happening cup of Kolkata’s irresistible black tea with a dash of lemon is ready to traverse you to the nostalgic lanes of the city of Joy!
Kolkata’s Famous Spiced Milk Tea Recipe
Half a cup of water
Half a cup of milk
Assam tea bags/loose tea
Allspice mix having cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves (optional)
- Boil water and add milk to it; let it boil for a couple of minutes. Buy Assam tea online and add a tea bag or a teaspoon of loose Assam tea along with a spoon of allspice mix to the boiling pot of milk and water.
- Let it boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Strain it and serve it with or without sugar.
Kolkata street tea is undoubtedly the best tea in India. Its rich history and eccentric flavor sets it apart from other teas in the country. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Indian tea experience, there’s no better place to start than with tea from the narrow streets of Kolkata.