Shuteye Chai History

Shuteye Chai History

By Rory Coulter


WHY “SHUTEYE CHAI”?


Full disclosure – Shuteye Chai isn’t actually chai, strictly speaking. For starters, it doesn’t contain black tea or cow’s milk, two of the main ingredients in chai. In fact, it’s completely caffeine and dairy free and made exclusively from functional botanicals, funghi, herbs, plants, minerals, roots, and spices. So, why “Shuteye Chai”? Because it takes inspiration from the Ayurvedic spices in masala chai and honors the ancient tradition of healing that chai embodies. 


INSPIRED BY 5,000 YEARS OF HEALING


Masala chai is more than just spiced tea – it represents India’s rich cultural heritage of healing spanning five millennia. The story begins in ancient times with the establishment of Ayurveda (the world’s oldest traditional system of medicine) and culminates in modern times with the establishment of Indian independence from colonial British rule. 


A CENTURIES OLD SECRET


Tea is a simple drink with a complex history that can be summed up by: Never underestimate the British penchant for tea. The recipe for tea was kept secret for thousands of years, but the British would stop at nothing to get it. In 1848, the East India Company sent a Scottish botanist with the Royal Horticultural Society on an intelligence mission into the far reaches of China, dressed in disguise so as not to be detected in an area forbidden to foreigners. Mission accomplished, so began the exploitative era of British-manufactured tea in India. 


STEEPED IN TRADITION, BREWED IN REBELLION


While most of the world’s tea was now produced in India, it was not consumed locally. The preferred drink was known as kadha, an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal brew made from boiling herbs and spices in water. Looking to expand their markets, the British waged a decades-long campaign to force the tradition of tea drinking on Indians, who would come to adopt tea – but only on their own terms. 


MASALA CHAI 


While the British lay claim to the best tea, the Indians were left with the bitter dregs. (That’s where the term “bottom of the barrel” comes from.) So, they improvised. They started brewing tea with milk and the traditional Ayurvedic spices of kadha, thus creating masala chai. (Masala chai means spiced tea. Chai just means tea in Hindi, so saying chai tea is like saying tea tea!)


MORE THAN JUST SPICED TEA


Throughout India, masala chai has become the traditional way of gathering with friends and family and welcoming guests into your home. And so every cup is like a warm invitation to slow down and enter into a place of comfort, peace and rest. Shuteye chai is lovingly made to help you do just that. 

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