For tea lovers, drinking tea in an earthen or terra cotta cup, like the ones used in northern India, is a wonderful tea experience. The matka which is used to serve the brew is a little pot of unglazed terra cotta made using the pottery wheel and then baked to perfection in a kiln.
When your lips brush against the exterior of these cups that look simple and crude, the taste is bland; however, every sip thereafter is soothing, invigorating and intoxicating all at once. The chai served in earthen cups certainly assails the senses. First, the color of the reddish-brown terra cotta contrasting against the color of the tea, whether with milk or black, presents a tempting sight. The hint of cardamom or saffron on top adorning the chai makes it look more inviting. The aroma and flavor of the tea seems intensified and matka chai certainly packs a punch!
Of course, some may not like the taste of chai served in clay pots at the first instance. What is more surprising is to watch other tea drinkers smash the matka on to the ground after the brew has been drained. That’s because these environment friendly cups mix with the soil after a day or two in the scorching sun or the pouring monsoons.
Tea in earthen cups is something many of us look forward to during train journeys in India. However, if you are like me you may want to take this little pot home to serve chai in since it is way better than any other vessel. Then it is time to sit back and allow the tea memories to flood back with every sip.