What is Masala Chai?
Masala Chai, an aromatic spiced tea, has been the Indian drink of choice for hundreds of years. It is the perfect blend of freshly ground spices (chai masala) like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper, added to a boiling pot of black tea, water and milk to make a delicious, satisfying and healthy beverage.
Nothing comforts like a warm mug of masala chai. With ethically sourced botanicals in balance with the milk of your choosing, enjoying chai doesn't have to be a complex process to become a welcome part of your daily ritual.
Read on to learn more about the rich history of Masala Chai along with our favorite tips for how to make a chai latte right at home.
But Which Is It, Masala Chai or Chai Masala?
Well, both! Chai masala is the mix of spices used to make chai. Masala chai is the finished product also known as spiced chai and often called chai tea (See our previous post So what's Chai Tea & Chai Tea Lattes? for why we don’t use that term!).
The word "chai" means "tea" in Hindi; "masala" means "spiced." So, when you ask for masala chai, you are asking for spiced tea. (This also means that there's no need to order a "chai tea" at your local café--unless you prefer to ask for a "tea tea," of course! And don’t look up how to make a chai tea latte, because this means you want a “tea tea latte”)
In short, "chai masala" refers to the blend of spices used for a cup of chai. And "masala chai" is the prepared drink. That’s why you will see that we refer to our blends as Masala Chai blends because they include the spices and the black tea.
Where Do You Find Masala Chai?
Masala chai has its origins in India, but its popularity has spread globally. Increasingly, masala chai can be found in western countries, as more and more people come to enjoy the ritual of drinking chai.
This warming drink can be found across the globe in cafes and enjoyed at home. And with our Masala Chai Blends, it’s easier than ever to enjoy a cup of comfort or your favorite spiced lattes at home.
What Spices Are Used in Masala Chai Recipes?
While the difference between the chai masala used across masala chai recipes may vary from household to household, some ingredients remain the same. The backbone of masala chai is black tea. Often, the included spices in masala chai are:
- black pepper
If you are looking for authentic chai, the ingredients listed above yield a traditional warming brew. Of course, you can also tweak the spices in masala chai to your own taste. If you love the warm taste of cinnamon, add in a cinnamon stick for some more flavor. Or, add some fresh ginger for added spice.
The spices in our Masala Chai Blends powder include ground organic botanicals: Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Nutmeg; and Naturally Brewed, Flash-Dried and Powdered Black Assam Tea. Our signature blend, Heirloom Chai, is the perfect mix of sweet, earthy, spicy flavors that awaken your taste buds and nourish your mind and body.
And our romantic Love Chai, is a soothing blend of the spices above, along with fragrant roses and additional cardamom.
How Do You Make Masala Chai?
Traditional masala chai is made by boiling water, milk, spices and loose leaf black tea and allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Some like to add sugar at this time. After you allow the flavors to blend, the liquid is then strained from the tea leaves and is ready to serve!
CHAI.COM offers traditional masala chai with a simpler brewing process that allows for complex flavors without brewing with loose leaf tea and straining out tea leaves.
Our process enables you to brew masala chai using the stove top method or making it one mug at a time. The difference between our process and the traditional process is that our black Assam tea already comes naturally brewed, then flash dried and powdered which is soluble in hot water.
So no need to use a tea strainer to remove tea leaves - no preparation or clean up needed! The aromatic masala chai powder simply dissolves in hot liquid and gives a full bodied flavor with potent polyphenols that serve as healing antioxidants for the body. The health benefits of black tea and our spices are detailed in Masala Chai Ingredients.
Here's instructions on how to make masala chai if you want to jump to the recipe. See how easy it is to make masala chai at home with little preparation or cleanup..
Is Masala Chai Sweetened?
Chai can be enjoyed both sweet and unsweetened.
Our Masala Chai Blend offers you a simple, easy way to experience the warming beverage any time of day.
We’ve intentionally created our masala chai blends without sweetener so that each person can individualize their cup of chai to their liking. Try a cup without adding any sweetener and enjoy the robust flavors of the organic spices, or consider brown sugar, monk fruit, turbinado, honey or even maple syrup to add sweetness.
With our Masala chai blends, modify your brew for the perfect cup every time. Simply, scoop, stir, sip and savor as you like!
How Much Milk Do I Add to Masala Chai?
Masala Chai is traditionally made with milk and water which is why it is often referred to as “chai latte” or even “chai tea latte”. We recommend starting with one part water to one equal part milk.
You can always adjust the ratio depending on the kind of milk you use.
The creamier the milk, the creamier your chai, which softens the spice flavors. You can use less milk and enjoy the boldness of the tea and spices. Or, you can use whole milk, 2% milk, fat-free milk or even sweetened condensed milk in your chai. For an added treat, add frothed milk for a barista style masala chai.
For those that are sensitive to dairy milk, make our chai with an array of alternative milks, including:
- soy milk
- almond milk
- cashew milk
- hemp milk
- coconut milk
- rice milk
- oat milk
- flaxseed milk
Because Heirloom Chai comes with everything but milk and sweetener, you have the freedom to select the milk of your choice for a customizable masala chai experience! Simply add the milk with the water and masala chai blend, to make the perfect cup in no time.
We’d love to hear how you make your chai. Let us know. Cheers!