What Is Chai And How To Make It
When you are saying “chai tea,” you are basically saying, “tea tea.”
Chai is a way of life in India. Almost everywhere you goin trains, on streets, in sari shopsyou will see people gulping down the sweet, spicy, milky beverage.
In America, “chai” has become known as a flavor of tea with predominantly cinnamon or cardamom notes. But in India, chai is not a flavor of tea it is teachai literally translates to “tea” in Hindi, so when you are saying “chai tea,” you are basically saying, “tea tea.” What we think of in America as this highly specialized beverage is, in India, simply the standard way of preparing tea.
Chai culture in India developed out of British colonization. During this time, the British East India Company was thriving, with tea from Assam, India being one of its biggest commodities. Tea consumption in India grew, and eventually, Indians took the British preparation of teablack with milk and sugarand put their own spin on it, with the addition of spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
For the most part, however, the basic components of chai are the same: tea, milk, spices, and sweetener. I turned to Anju Sharma, the chef/owner of the very excellent Indian restaurant, Amma, in New York to show me the ropes on how to make a great cup of chai. Also included in my expert panel: my mother, Ritu Krishnaa formidable chai maker all her own.
How To Make Chai Tea
Our inspired version begins by lightly crushing the spices in a mortar and pestle .
Slightly crushing the spices opens them up more and makes for a stronger infusion , packing more of a punch with fewer ingredients and less cost.
The crushed spices are added to a saucepan with water and freshly grated ginger and left to simmer for about 15 minutes. Grating the ginger makes for a stronger ginger flavor. But if gingery chai isnt your thing, slice instead of grating and/or slightly reduce the amount.
We prefer steeping first in water alone because we find it makes a stronger infusion than adding the milk too soon.
The black tea and dairy-free milk are then added and heated slightly. For a full-bodied drink, we like using thick, rich dairy-free milks such as our Cashew Coconut Oat Milk.
Then all thats left is to add your sweetener of choice and strain.
Its the perfect drink to enjoy cuddled up with a blanket and a good book. Or make a big batch and reheat on the stovetop or in a milk frother on busier days.
We hope you LOVE this chai! Its:Spicy
- 2Tbspgrated ginger
- 3Tbsploose leaf black tea
- 2cupsdairy-free milk
- Sweetener such as stevia, organic cane sugar, or maple syrup to taste
How To Prepare Chai
The process of preparing chai looks different from culture to culture, but the basic premise remains the same. Sanyal offers his technique for preparing chai below.
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The Best Chai You Can Brew
Chai spice tea is delicious and offers potent health benefits to improve your daily life. You can sip a hot chai beverage or cool down with an iced masala chai blend. The traditional method of grinding the spices by hand and brewing fresh offers the most authentic and powerful flavor. If you prefer milder teas, whip up a chai latte that delivers sweet flavor and rich texture for an indulgent tea drinking experience.
When Is The Best Time To Drink Chai Tea
In India it chai tea is traditionally consumed early in the morning. Although, that is generally speaking okay, there are a few considerations worth mentioning.
Chai tea is prepared, almost always, with black tea. So when considering the best time to drink chai tea, this inevitably involves the best time to drink black tea.
The best time to drink chai tea is in the morning after breakfast, at noon, or afternoon. It is best to avoid drinking chai tea in the late afternoon or at night before bed.
Chai tea should not be consumed on an empty stomach as it could lead to acidity and even stomach aches because of the strong spices and the black tea. This is why it is recommended to drink it about 30 minutes after you had your breakfast or lunch. With that being said, drinking chai tea in the morning is an excellent way to kick start your day as the caffeine in black tea will energize you.
On the other hand, chai tea should not be consumed in the late afternoon. The caffeine content in black tea can interfere with your sleep cycle and worsen the quality of your sleep, especially if consumed right before bed.
The best seasons to drink chai tea are the autumn and winter because this hot beverage will keep you warm and cozy.
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What Is A Chai Latte
A chai latte takes the flavors associated with masala chai, a common spiced tea drink present in most households throughout India , and amps ups its milkiness with a technique for frothy steamed milk borrowed from homemade lattes.
Lucky for us, masala chai is almost always made with milk and is brewed with milkiness in mind, but before we get to frothing the milk, we need to brew a strongly spiced batch of black tea and sweeten it slightly.
Looking for masala chai recipe? Here are two of our favorites.
In most instances a masala chai is typically what were seeking when we order a chai tea latte although we should drop the tea, as chai literally means tea. In these recipes, the milk is heated rather than steamed and both contain directions for making it by the cup.
What Is The Difference Between Masala Chai Tea And Chai Tea
Things get really interesting when we get down to the nitty-gritty stuff. Often I see people that use these terms interchangeably, which is not necessarily correct.
Technically speaking in India, the word chai means tea. In fact, even in Chinese and Arabic, the word for tea sounds very similar. So by saying chai tea, this means we are saying tea tea, which creates a little redundancy.
However, with time the word chaias it got introduced to the Western cultureevolved and is now used for referring to the tea which has been prepared the same way it is commonly consumed in South Asia.
Today chai tea usually refers to black tea with milk or masala chai tea.
And masala chai tea, on the other hand, is a little bit different. It can be considered the original, which started it all. It is tea, usually black, with milk and spices.
In fact, the word masala means spices or more to the point a mixtureor pasteof spices. If you are wondering what kind of spices, worry no, I will talk a good bit about that below.
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Does Chai Have Caffeine
Chai lattes that are made with black tea do have some caffeine. In this particular recipe, you can make it with or without the tea either way it will taste great!
I personally dont have the patience to wait for tea to brew, and then make a latte out of it, so this recipe gets its flavor from an easy combination of spices instead. If you make it without the tea, its a caffeine-free drink.
Different Types Of Tea For Making Chai
There are many different types of tea options when making a good cup of masala chai. We recommend skipping those bottom-of-the-barrel tea dust kinds that usually come in bleached, micro-plastic-filled tea bags. Those chai tea bags are not what you want here. Make sure you are grabbing a high-quality, organic, if possible, loose leaf tea. If you are new to brewing loose leaf tea, grab these loose leaf tea steeping tips here.
Black tea is the traditional type of tea to use when steeping a cup of chai tea. The more robust the black tea, the more traditional cup of marsala chai you will get. Darjeeling and Assam are the most recommended. Any type of black tea will do, though. Our favorite black tea for chai is our Three Sisters Black Tea Blend blended with this Herbal Chai Spice.
If you are not up to blending your custom chai blend, though, these blends are our favorite mixes, ready to go!
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How To Make A Masala Tea
Masala Tea is one of the favourite drinks of people across India. It is a drink that every Indian household consume during the morning and evening to feel fresh and start a day with positivity.
People most liked it in monsoon and winters, the cold weather and hot chai match perfectly. So, lets peek into the process of the masala tea recipe. Pair it up with either biscuit, mathri, or any of your favourite snacks.
Follow this simple & step-by-step guide of how to make a masala tea and make a tasteful tea at home.
Tea is one such thing without which you cant begin your day as we all are addicted to this beverage. No matter whatever the season is a cup of chai reduces all our stress, pain, and makes us feel fresh.
Whenever you visit any Indian family chai is surely served as a welcome drink. Every household has its own versions of making tea based on their taste. Some like to have it sugarless some like to have it in full milk, some half milk half water, some without milk, and some strongly brewed. The pleasing tea, favourite person, lots of gossips, and delicious snacks can create an unbreakable and memorable bond.
What is masala tea?
Masala is the Hindi term of spices and the meaning is the mixture of different spices and tea is the beverage made of milk, water, sugar, and tea.So masala tea is a drink that contains different aromatic spices that are mixed and simmered with milk, tea, sugar, and tea.
What is the difference between tea and masala tea?
How To Find The Best Chai Tea
Chai tea is readily available at the grocery store and in online retailers such as Amazon. Whether you prefer chai tea bags or loose leaf teas, there’s an option out there for you.
Finding the best chai tea among so many options can sometimes be overwhelming. Luckily, there are a few things you can look for to ensure you’re getting a high quality chai blend.
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The Best Tea For Chai Latte
Loose-leaf black tea is best for brewing chai for lattes. Ideally, it is made with an Assam or Ceylon tea, but English Breakfast or other black tea blends work wonderfully too. Loose-leaf tea is generally of a higher quality than bags, with large pieces and less dust, which can lead to bitter or tannic tea. Since we have to strain out the spices before making our chai latte anyway, bagged tea would be no time-saver here.
That being said, if bagged black tea is all you have on hand or is one you particularly love, then by all means, use it! Youll want six bags for each batch of chai.
Easy Chai Latte Recipe
This Chai Latte recipe has the sweet and spicy flavor that you love, and can be made at home in just minutes. Its dairy-free, naturally sweetened, and makes a great healthier alternative to the kind youd buy at a coffee shop.
As an added bonus, its cheaper and has no weird preservatives or additives. I love making it at home because I get to control the amount of spice and sweetness. You can simply taste as you go!
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What Is Chai Latte
Chai is a blend of black tea and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns, which is typically served strong with milk. You can steep the Chai in water and then add milk, or you can simmer the Chai itself in a mixture of milk and water or just milk to make a Chai latte.
What Are Chai Spices
First off, we need some authentic, organic, and tasty chai spices. Chai recipes are known for their must-have warming spices. Not only do these spices taste fabulous, but they also have some incredible medicinal properties as well.
Ginger- A spice we all often use in things like pumpkin pie and curry. Its anti-inflammatory, soothes sore throats, is anti-viral, is a blood mover, helps running noses, coughs, pain reliever reduces bloating, and aids indigestion.
Cardamom- Cardamom is served in India as an after-meal mint of sorts. Itcleans the mouth, stimulates digestion, is anti-bacterial, soothes the stomach, helps ulcers, and is anti-inflammatory.
Cinnamon- A well-known spice used in many baking dishes and great for indigestion, gas, heartburn, stomach aches, anti-inflammatory, helps cramps, aids in blood sugars, is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and has antioxidants.
Black Pepper- This spicy pepper does more than adding some kick it alsomoves gas, helps in pain relief, is a blood mover, is anti-inflammatory, and helps absorption.
Star Anise- A beautiful star-shaped spice also helpscramps, aids digestion, and reduces nausea, bloating, gas, indigestion, and constipation.
Cloves- This slightly spicy and well-known pie spice is also helpful for arthritis, anti-inflammatory, tooth health, mouth health, liver aide, headaches, immune booster, and digestive health.
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Other Interpretations Of Chai To Try
“One of the best parts about working with chai is how versatile it is,” Sanyal says. You can switch or skip some ingredients and get a completely different flavor, or even emulate the taste in baked goods.
- Add ice to make iced tea, and give it even more of a refreshing taste.
- Remove spices for a plain, more subdued flavor for your chai.
- Make chai-spiced rice pudding to eat with “puri” or rice during festivals and holidays.
- Bake cookies with chai concentrate for a unique woodsy flavor.
- Add spices and herbs like black pepper and lavender to create a nutritious variation for chai.
What Is The Difference Between Chai Tea And Chai Tea Latte
To make things extra confusing, we also have another beverage called chai tea latte.
You already know that saying chai tea creates a redundancy, so the right term should be something along the lines of masala chai latte, masala tea latte, chai latte, or spiced tea latte.
So is there a difference between chai tea and chai tea latte? Both chai tea and chai tea latte are very similar, but they are not the same thing. Chai tea is prepared by adding spices and tea to water and milk while chai tea latte is prepared through adding concentrated tea and spices to steamed milk.
Because of that, chai tea latte may end up being more concentrated and with a lot foamier and frothier texture.
It is worth mentioning that not all chai tea lattes are created equal. Some coffee shops prepare it by using pre-brewing ingredients, which are of inferior quality, while other places may add too many sweeteners or sugar to it.
One of the questions that may pop up is how much caffeine is there in the chai tea latte?
Chai tea latte is prepared with black tea, which contains caffeine, so yes, it does have caffeine. The amount of caffeine in your chai tea latte will depend on how much black tea has been used, and it can vary between
between 50 to 170 mg per standard 8 oz cup.
Chai tea latte, due to its higher sugar content can be very high in calories. It can contain between 40 and 120 kcal per standard 8 oz cup.
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How To Make Chai/chaya
- Stainless steel pot
- Ladled Spoon
- Green Cardamom Pods, 5, smashed
- Peppercorns, 2-3, smashed
- Loose Black Tea Leaves, 4 tspWagh Bakri or Tata Chakra Gold are my favorite loose CTC teas The Chai Box and One Stripe Chai Co make some wonderful blends with spices already in it!
- Milk, 1 1/4 cupI use 2% Lactaid milk if using whole milk, you maybe want to reduce the amount added to about 1 cup for dairy-free chaya, check out my dairy-free recipe
- Sugar, 2 tsp