What is Chai? Chai is a unique way to spruce up your tea time. This aromatic spiced black tea has captured the hearts of many.
You’ll be amazed by the warmth, complexity and comfort that a cup of chai tea can bring to your day- making it the ideal beverage for anyone who loves a cuppa.
In this post, we’re gonna take a deep dive into chai, to deliver you the most satisfying tea drinking experience…
What Is Chai?
“Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea,” which derives from “cha,” the Chinese word “茶” for tea.
It is a type of tea made from true tea plants, alsoknown as Camellia sinensis, that has been popular for hundreds of years in India. Chai is a spice blend of black tea that varies depending on the type of tea and spices used.
Chai typically is brewed with warm water but can also be enjoyed as an iced drink or a latte. In India, chai is often made with green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and black peppercorns with the addition of black tea leaves.
It has evolved to incorporate different spices in chai blends from around the world including nutmeg and allspice. The resulting flavor is earthy, sweet and spicy making it perfect for almost any occasion for coffee and tea drinkers.
Components Of Chai
Made with aromatic herbs and spices along with tea leaves that have been steeped in hot milk. However, the aroma and flavor of chai may vary greatly depending on the parts of India.
But most commonly it contains strong black tea leaves with cinnamon and spices like cardamom, cloves, ginger, peppercorn, anise seeds, and nutmeg.
Spiced Chai – Variation Of Chai
Chai may provide a unique flavor experience based on the fresh spices used during the brewing process. There are different types of chai:
Darjeeling Masala Chai
The taste of this tea is spiced with Indian flavors, and it is greatly desired on a cold morning. Spices commonly used include cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. The proportions of these ingredients vary according to the recipe.
Elaichi or Cardamom Chai
It uses freshly ground or powdered cardamom. Due to the cardamom, this chai is sweet and refreshing. Grated or powdered cinnamon can also be added.
Bombay Cutting Chai
A popular refreshing beverage made from tea powder / leaves with milk, sugar, ginger, and cardamom.
Known for its cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron flavors, Kahwa is a Kashmiri tea. During the cold winter months, it is a wonderful drink to warm you up.
A chai latte is made by mixing steamed milk with infused black tea. Foam is then poured over the drink.
There are just four ingredients in the ancient recipe for Sulaimani tea: black tea, cardamom, cloves, and lime. You can enjoy this refreshing and invigorating beverage at any time of the day thanks to the simple combination of spices.
In India, tulsi leaves (considered a holy herb) and lemon juice are used to make tulsi tea instead of black tea. To make tulsi chai, simply simmer the chai in water for 10 minutes, then pour the water through a strainer and add lemon juice
Some people like to sweeten up their tea with unrefined jaggery palm sugar, unrefined cane sugar, brown sugar, or plain white sugar.
What Is Chai Tea Good For- Benefits Of Chai
Chai offers antioxidants that help reduce inflammation along with ginger’s natural anti-nausea properties. Drinking chai is a healthy choice over other drinks like coffee. Additionally its claimed benefits include:
Whether you simply enjoy the savory flavor or seek out its health benefits, it makes an irresistible beverage to be savored daily!
How to Make Chai Like A Pro
Making chai at home is easy and only requires a few ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons black tea leaves or 1 tablespoon ground tea leaves (Assam is preferred for the presence of caffeine)
- Plant-based milk of your choice
- Sugar/sweetener (optional)
And then add the desired seasonings:
- 1-2 teaspoons ground or grated ginger root
- 4-5 black peppercorns (or 1/4 teaspoon crushed fresh pepper)
- 2 teaspoons cardamom pods or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (optionally pounded for maximum flavor release)
- 4 clove buds (optional)
- Plus any additional desired seasonings.
Once all ingredients are gathered together it’s time to begin! Begin by heating one cup of water in a small saucepan.
Once boiling, add the tea leaves and steep for three minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before adding the other ingredients.
- Pepper peppercorns
- Ground ginger root
- Cup milk of your choice
- Sweetener if desired (maple syrup, molasses, organic sugar, palm sugar, Demerara…etc.)
- Cardamom pods
- Ground fennel seeds
- Clove buds (optional)
- Mace spice
- Any additional seasonings you’d like
Then, place the pan on low heat and gently bring the mixture back to a simmer, stirring for about five minutes.
Be sure not to boil as this will cause the liquid to evaporate, cooling and creating an overly concentrated beverage that does not taste pleasant. Use a strainer to pour the finished beverage into the desired cups and enjoy!
It can also be enjoyed cold over ice if desired, making it one of the most versatile and delicious calming drinks around the world!
Other Chai Recipes
As its popularity continues to grow in the West many unique chai recipes have been adapted from traditional Indian methods of brewing. Below are some examples of versatile chai recipes to enjoy:
Where to Find Chai – Popular Chai Brands
There are many different brands available on the market today. You can find them at coffee shops or online retailers. Here are some of the most popular ones (you can click the links below purchase them via Amazon if you can find them at your local stores):
Fun Facts about Chai
Chai has long been used as both an ayurvedic remedy and a source of refreshment. Here are some interesting facts about chai that you may not know:
- Chai has been around for centuries as it first appeared in India around 1100 A.D.
- Chai is derived from the Hindi word Cha which means “tea” or “teacup”
- The traditional recipe for chai includes black tea, milk, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and fiery ginger root
- Masala chai can be prepared with fresh herbs which adds an aromatic flavor
- Many companies have started to produce instant chai mixes for convenience
- Making homemade masala chai is also popular among tea enthusiasts who prefer to grind their own spices for added freshness
- In India it is custom to serve guests steaming hot cups of spiced tea upon arrival
- Studies have suggested that drinking Masala chai can provide antiseptic benefits.
Hope this blog helps you learn more about this mysterious tea blend!
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How To Make Chai At Home
- 2 tbsp Black tea leaves or 1 tbsp ground tea leaves
- Plant-based milk of your choice (optional)
- Sugar/sweetener (optional)
- 1-2 tsp ground or grated ginger root
- ¼ tsp crushed fresh pepper
- 2 tsp cardamom pods or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds optionally pounded for maximum flavor release
- 4 ea clove buds (optional)
- Plus any additional desired seasonings.
- 1. Begin by heating one cup of water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, add the tea leaves and steep for three minutes.
- 2. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before adding the other ingredients.
- 3. Then, place the pan on low heat and gently bring the mixture back to a simmer, stirring for about five minutes.
- Be sure not to boil as this will cause the liquid to evaporate, cooling and creating an overly concentrated beverage that does not taste pleasant. Use a strainer to pour the finished beverage into the desired cups and enjoy!PS. It can also be enjoyed cold over ice if desired, making it one of the most versatile and delicious calming drinks around the world!
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