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 loose leaf tea and milk to make a delicious, satisfying and healthy beverage.

There is little more comforting than 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.

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!)

In short, "chai masala" refers to the blend of spices that are used within the brewing process. In comparison, "masala chai" refers to the finished drink.

Where do you find Masala Chai?

Masala chai has its origins in India, but its popularity has spread since the 1900s. It is prevalent in South Asia, where it is routinely consumed. 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.

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 are:

  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • black pepper

If you are looking for authentic chai, the ingredients listed above yield a traditional warming brew.

How Do You Make Masala Chai?

Traditional masala chai is made by boiling water, milk, spices and loose leaf black tea together and allowing the mixture to infuse, and come to a boil. Some like to add sugar at this time. 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. It 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.

Is Masala Chai Sweetened?

The customary ingredients for chai are milk, spices, and tea, boiled together and infused. Chai can be enjoyed both sweet and unsweetened. Heirloom Chai offers you a simple, easy way to experience the warming beverage at any time of day. With big flavor and no sugar, you can easily modify your chai with your choice of milk or sweetener. With Heirloom Chai, you can modify your brew for the perfect cup every time. Simply, scoop, stir, and sip!

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”. For example, a brew of two cups of chai, 1 cup of the chai will be from milk.

You can use whole milk, 2% milk, fat-free milk or even sweetened condensed milk in your chai. For those that are sensitive to dairy milk, chai can be made using 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!

We’d love to hear how you make your chai. Let us know. Cheers!

Tags: masala chai

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