Dubai: It’s round four.30pm on a winter night within the UAE.
The queue of tea lovers ready for his or her favorite cuppa outdoors a cafeteria in Ras Al Khor is getting longer.
Contained in the tea joint, two staff are busy getting ready their quickest shifting merchandise—karak tea, a sizzling beverage that’s equally in style amongst Emiratis and expats.
An enormous bowl of water (nearly three litres) is stored on the fuel range for boiling. The tea powder, a secret combine, is then added to the boiling water, adopted by two spoons of cardamom powder.
In one other water jug, one cup of sugar and two litres of tetra pack milk are combined after which added to the boiling tea. After the flavoured combination brews to the brim, it’s strained into a big flask.
Every cup of sizzling tea poured from the flask is then topped with a dab of saffron powder.
Voila! The favored Dh1 drink is prepared for the patrons.
Piping sizzling, candy karak tea is taken into account a every day necessity by many within the UAE.
From the nondescript, hole-in the-wall cafeterias in outdated Dubai areas to trendy cafes in Downtown Dubai and swanky eating places in Jumeirah, karak tea is likely one of the most shifting objects in Dubai eateries with costs starting from Dh1 to a staggering Dh25.
Most UAE joints promoting karak chai, as it’s identified amongst expats from the Indian subcontinent, have an extended queue of shoppers, particularly in winter. A whole bunch of hundreds of residents take pleasure in their favorite beverage within the chilly mornings and evenings.
If a tea maker provides 100g sugar in a single litre water, the tip end in one cup of tea a person could be consuming could be 20g sugar which is 4tsp.
– Janani Satchithanantham, dietitian, Aster Hospital, Al Qusais.
The candy lure
However, as you sip your sizzling cuppa, have you ever ever considered how a lot sugar goes in it?
The UAE’s hottest sizzling beverage is probably not made in as easy steps as defined above in all of the retailers.
It will get loaded with sugar in numerous methods at most retailers that promote karak tea like sizzling muffins throughout winter.
The heavily-sugared milk infusion has remained out of the radar at the same time as the federal government lately launched a 50 per cent excise tax on merchandise with added sugar or different sweeteners.
The sin tax is levied on merchandise, whether or not within the type of a beverage or a focus, powder, extract or any product that could be transformed right into a beverage.
Towards the backdrop of the UAE authorities’s efforts to scale back the excessive consumption of sugar to stop weight problems and persistent illnesses, Gulf Information did an investigation to learn how a lot sugar is added to karak tea right here.
Secret elements of karak tea
As we scoured a number of cafeterias and eating places promoting karak tea, we stumbled upon the truth that every of them has their very own secret recipe.
Whereas no one was keen to share the precise mixture of tea powders they use, tea makers mentioned cardamom, cinnamon and ginger are a number of the essential elements that give the wealthy flavour to the tea when brewed in numerous proportions and topped with a dab of saffron.
We discovered that evaporated milk or UHT-processed tetra pack milk are among the many hottest milk sorts used for karaks within the UAE.
Whereas there isn’t a commonplace quantity of sugar that’s utilized in totally different retailers, our investigation revealed that it isn’t simply sugar and milk that’s giving the sweetness to your karak.
At one cafeteria in Al Safa in Dubai, an worker mentioned he makes use of 12ouncesof sugar and greater than half a litre evaporated milk for making one kettle of tea that offers about 30 cups sized 6.5oz.
“We add a few biscuits additionally to provide a particular flavour to our karak,” he revealed.
What he confirmed us was a tiny Lotus Biscoff biscuit. Every caramelised biscuit accommodates 3g sugar.
The worker additionally revealed that his good friend, who makes tea in one other cafeteria in style for its karak, provides glucose biscuits as a substitute.
A glucose biscuit produced by a preferred model within the UAE accommodates 7.8g sugar.
A cup of karak tea is 122 kcal, with 8g sugar and 5g fats.
What else provides to the sweetness?
Mohammad, who makes karak tea for a newly opened restaurant in Ras Al Khor, mentioned he’s conscious of tea makers within the UAE utilizing several types of biscuits, chocolate eclairs and condensed milk of their karak tea so as to add sweetness and flavour.
Which karak lover wouldn’t agree with him when he says: “The essence of karak tea is its candy and robust flavour. That’s what makes it addictive.”
In his earlier office, a preferred café chain identified for its karak tea, Mohammed was instructed to make use of 120g of sugar for 5 litres of tea.
“Right here, I take advantage of much less sugar, 80g for 5 litres, as I add condensed milk for enhancing the flavour.”
Hundred gram of condensed milk has 54g of sugar.
Mohammed argues that the majority karak lovers wish to have extra sugar of their cuppa. “Particularly taxi drivers. They love ingesting very candy tea that offers them extra vitality.”
Some tea stall staff claimed that they use solely sugar and add nothing else for sweetness in karak. However the amount revealed by some left us shocked.
Just like the cafeteria in Al Quoz. The worker there mentioned they add one kilo sugar to 10litre water for brewing the karak tea with 300g of a particular mixture of tea powder. “Evaporated milk is added individually within the cup,” he mentioned.
Once you do the Math, you possibly can see that there’s 100g of sugar added for one litre water.
There are retailers that offer you sweeter karak in biscuit cups too! The sugar coating inside the liner of the biscuit cup makes the tea even sweeter.
The essence of karak tea is its candy and robust flavour. That’s what makes it addictive.
– Mohammad, cafeteria employee
What a well being skilled says
Excessive quantity of sugar in karak tea is an alarming concern which must be given a thought because the nation appears to be like ahead to slicing down consumption of sweetened drinks and drinks, mentioned Janani Satchithanantham, dietitian, Aster Hospital, Al Qusais.
“If a tea maker provides 100g sugar in a single litre water, the tip end in one cup of tea a person could be consuming could be 20g sugar which is 4tsp,” she defined.
This will go up relying on what number of servings the person is consuming. “Consuming these empty energy can result in unintended weight acquire and result in different life-style considerations,” Satchithanantham cautioned.
Sugar is taken into account the only worst ingredient within the modern-day food regimen. “It damages the metabolism in the long term. Consuming an excessive amount of added sugar in every day routine will result in weight acquire, weight problems, sort two diabetes and coronary heart illnesses.”
American Coronary heart Affiliation (AHA) recommends the utmost quantity of sugar you possibly can eat in a day will not be greater than six to 9 teaspoons for an grownup with regular BMI. “Ideally in a cup of tea, half to 1 teaspoon of sugar might be taken,” Satchithanantham suggested.
The dietary worth of a cup of karak tea is 122 kcal, with 8g sugar and 5g fats, mentioned Satchithanantham.
“The calorie depend varies anyplace between 70 –133kcal relying on what quantity of milk and sugar is added within the making of karak tea.”
If the sugar content material per one cup of tea is 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, it quantities to 32kcal, she mentioned.
“If the variety of servings is on the upper facet, the general calorie from the sugar additionally will increase. Bear in mind, it’s empty energy because it doesn’t add any dietary worth.”
“Further components like glucose biscuit will make it [karak tea] extra calorie-dense than nutrient-dense. Tea is a refreshing beverage and having such calorie-dense beverage goes to be filling and you’d are inclined to skip the precise meal,” she cautioned.
In case you are involved in regards to the energy moving into, then karak tea with excessive sugar content material or with condensed milk will completely do no justice to your complete consumption of energy, she defined.
Nonetheless, contemplating the dietary advantages with not a lot added sugar, she mentioned karak tea improves the digestive course of because it accommodates cardamom and cinnamon, which have antibacterial properties that forestall digestive issues. Some individuals additionally add black pepper that has antagonistic properties, noticed Satchithanantham.
So, will you quit karak?
However, will the karak lovers quit their favorite cup due to excessive sugar? Not going, vouch Pakistani colleagues and karak lovers Imtiaz Hussain, Ashfaq Nawaz and Mitha Khan.
They work within the Fruits and Greens Market in Al Aweer and stroll for a few kilometres to a stall in Ras Al Khor simply to have their favorite Dh1 karak within the evenings.
“They’ve the right combine. I don’t assume it’s too candy. We really feel refreshed after ingesting this karak. That’s the reason we come right here to have their karak tea. It provides us vitality and enthusiasm,” mentioned Nawaz.
Indian expat Sangeetha. S, one other karak lover, mentioned she opts for karak “with out sugar” and provides brown sugar in keeping with her style.
However, many of the karak tea retailers don’t promote the ‘with out’ model. And lowering the sugar may flip away the purchasers, feared Ismail, the operations supervisor of a restaurant chain that sells karak for Dh1.
“We can’t enhance the value additionally. It’s the least expensive drink. Everybody likes it as a result of it’s tasty and low-cost,” he mentioned.
Historical past of tea
Tea originated as a medicinal drink in China in third century. Tea was first launched to Portuguese clergymen and retailers in Lebanon in the course of the 16th century. Ingesting tea grew to become in style in Britain in the course of the 17th century. The British launched tea manufacturing, in addition to tea consumption, to India to compete with the Chinese language monopoly on tea. The robust masala tea in style in India arrived within the Gulf international locations with the Indian diaspora within the 1960s, in the course of the time oil was found within the area.
Tea is as a lot an Arabic as a European tradition. Of the highest 30 tea shopper international locations, 15 are within the Center East and North Africa which now accounts for 1 / 4 of world tea ingesting.
The world’s centre for tea bag manufacturing is Dubai.
Why is karak tea so in style?
Karak is a super-charged candy, milk tea with robust flavour of spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and saffron.
Many karak joints improve the flavour by mixing several types of unfastened tea and including totally different proportions of spices and sugar-infusing elements.
Karak actually means ‘onerous’ or ‘stiff’. When appended to the phrase ‘chai,’ karak suggests a drink made stronger by steeping the leaves for longer or by diluting with much less milk.
The Gulf model of India’s masala tea grew to become often called karak chai presumably due to the best way it’s ordered to be made robust.
On this area, it’s extra in style than the common black tea, inexperienced tea and different natural tea infusions due to its robust, sugary flavour.
From the humbling Dh1 concoction to pricey luxurious blends, karak tea is probably probably the most consumed beverage within the UAE.