Tea is one of the most traditional drinks and it’s extremely popular across the world. I think tea is the second most popular drink on earth, next only to water. There are many varieties of tea available in the market. Even though, the basic concept remains the same, but across the world people prepares it little differently. I’m pretty much used to two types of preparation, with milk and without milk. Without milk it looks so glamorous and not only the looks, but it tastes quite awesome as well. Particularly early morning, few sips of Black tea is capable enough to refresh us instantly. It feels like consuming the Caffeine in its purest form. It goes quite well with few drops of lemon juice and many people calls it by the name “Lemon Tea” Oh! The aroma is just magnificent. Actually Black tea goes quite well with many other flavors, like ginger, black pepper, mint, etc. So it can be kind of compared with vodka, as far as the mixing is concerned. Black tea is extremely popular in the North East states of India and particularly Assam. Well, to be honest I never ever had Black tea in my entire life and whatever I had all these years was purely Red in color and in our state it's popularly known as "Laal Saa" I’ve no idea why the hell people call it Black tea? Black coffee is understandable, but black tea is confusing, as it’s no way black.
I remember those train journeys during my engineering days. There’s a train, popularly known as BG Passenger which starts at 5 AM from our hometown and reaches Guwahati by 9 AM. The same train used to return from Guwahati at 5 PM. Those were memorable journeys, as we used to travel in groups and we even used to taste almost every possible eateries that passed by our compartment. After the holidays were over, most of the time we usually used to travel by the 5 AM local train. Even though, it was quite painful to wake up so early, but the train was very convenient and specially the timing, as we could have attended our lectures on the same day. Many people working in the government sector usually travel by that train on a regular basis. The very first thing I used to do, as soon as I used to get into the train was to have a "Laal Saa" There used to be so many Chai Walas all around with different flavors of tea. While travelling early morning, I was not very much tempted with all those yummy foods. Actually in local trains people usually use to avoid the washrooms and use it only in case of emergencies. Well, I just tried to avoid any sort of emergency situation while travelling, as early morning I'm very much vulnerable in that case.
Once I moved out of Assam, I always kind of missed the tea culture out there. In our place one can find a tea stall in almost every nook and corner and in almost every stall they also serve Black tea, as well. I still remember my 1st day in Bangalore, when in the evening I just wanted to have a cup of tea. I kept on searching and couldn’t find any tea stall nearby. I was very much frustrated and then later, one of my friend told me that tea’s available in any of the bakeries in Bangalore. Even though, the tea tastes quite good out here, but the fun and luxury of having tea in a tea stall, is very different. In some of the bakeries they even serve black tea and many people calls it "Sulaimani tea" here in Bangalore
A couple of months back, a new caterer was introduced at out office cafeteria and I was very much delighted to see “Laal Saa” out there in the counter. I asked the guy "Boss, ek Red tea dena" "Please get me one Red tea"
The guy replied "Sorry Sir, no Red tea. Only Black tea and Lemon tea"
They use to serve tea in small and transparent glasses. I asked him "It’s purely red in color, but why you call it Black tea?"
The guy smiled and said "I don’t know Sir. People call it Black tea so we also call the same"
Again I asked "What about lemon tea? How it is different from Black tea?"
They guy replied "Both are same Sir and we only put few drops of lemon it it"
Now days, every morning I regularly have lemon tea at our cafeteria. But in the afternoon by around 4 PM, I usually have craving for a normal cup of tea, I mean tea prepared with milk. Tea is a research topic since centuries and over the years many doctors and scientists claimed tea to have health benefits. Some research suggests that drinking tea without milk is good for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.