A Quick Experts Guide to Chai, Masala Chai & Chai Latte

With over 6 billion Kg of Tea consumed worldwide every year, according to a report by Statista, the popularity of Tea has grown every year. Among the various types of tea, Chai has been one of the most popular types of Tea in demand globally.

Over the last decade, the simple Chai has evolved into various flavors and blends, with every region adding its unique touch to make it more personalized to their needs.

This popularity of Chai has brought in a lot of confusion about its types, recipes, ingredients, and more. Our guide aims to educate and clarify any doubts that you might have about Chai.

What is Chai Tea?

The Hindi word Chai, derived from the Chinese word for tea cha, is a cult favorite of Indians, a tradition almost. Contrary to what the West believes, Chai is not a flavor. It is the literal translation of 'tea,' the beverage.

Chai, also known as Milk tea, is a simple mixture of tea, milk, sweetener, and spices & herbs in the case of Masala Chai.

How is Chai Tea Grown, Harvested & Processed?

Chai Tea is usually made from Tea leaves from tea gardens in the lower altitude regions rather than Tea gardens in the higher altitude regions.

The Tea leaves are plucked and processed in an almost similar manner to any other black tea except for the last part where the teas are Cut, Tea & Curl into small, hard pellets.

Thus Chai Teas are also sometimes referred to as CTC Teas.

Image of CTC Black Tea Leaves

What is Chai made of? (Ingredients)

Chai has adapted and adopted different styles depending on occasions, places, and people. Yet the basics are tea, milk, sweeteners, and spices, in the case of Masala Chai.

1. CTC Black Tea Leaves

CTC black tea leaves from the regions of Assam and Darjeeling are usually popular and preferred tea for Chai or milk teas.

2. Fresh Milk

What makes Chai a Chai is Milk. You can add Cow Milk or Soya Milk according to your preference. Some simmer tea in water and add milk later, while some prefer to simmer it with milk directly.

3. Sweeteners

We have seen the use of sugar is very popular, and then honey, jaggery, and fresh cream to sweeten your Chai Tea.

4. Herbs & Spices ( Masala Chai )

To personalize the taste of Chai and enhance its benefits, the popular added spices are Cardamom, Ginger, Turmeric, Tulsi & Lemongrass.

Image of Masala Chai Tea

Types of Chai and Its Ingredients, Recipe & Serving

There are three types of popular Chai’s

  1. Chai ( Covered Above )
  2. Masala Chai
  3. Chai Latte
  4. Blended Chai

2. Masala Chai

What is Masala Chai?

Masala Chai is an Indian-origin specialized Tea made from a mixture of Water, Milk, CTC Teas, and Special Herbs & Spices.

There are many types of Masala Tea that have been customized and popularized in the following decade. Here is a list of a few popular ones.

  • Cardamom Masala Chai
  • Ginger Masala Chai
  • Turmeric Masala Chai
  • Tulsi Masala Chai
  • Lemon Grass Masala Chai

What are the Ingredients of a Masala Chai?

Masala Chai contains Water, Milk, CTC Black Tea Sweeteners, and Masala (Spices ).

Popular Spices: Ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon are commonly used. You can add other spices like clove, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, star anise, etc.

Popular Sweetener: sugar, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, jaggery.

Masala Chai Recipe | Brewing Guide

Step 1 - Prepare Fresh Water and let it boil on a low flame.

Step 2 - Once the water starts boiling, moderately toast your spices in a dry pan and Crush your herbs or spices and then add them to the boiling water for another minute.

Step 3 - Add CTC Black Tea Leaves and let it boil for a minute.

Step 4 - Once the tea darkens, add milk until the color becomes brownish.

Step 5 - Add the Sweetener of your choice

Step 6 - Strain the Tea and Serve Hot or Warm

Please Note:

#For a balanced taste, the ratio of Milk has to be on par with water.

#Make sure you do not boil the tea too much because the more you boil the tea, the stronger the tea will taste.

Image of Chai Latte Tea

3. Chai Latte - What is Chai Latte?

What is a Chai latte?

Chai latte is a heaven-made match of two of our favorite drinks, masala chai and latte. It takes the flavor of masala chai and adds the creaminess and milkiness of frothy milk.

What are the Ingredients of Chai Latte ?

The ingredient of the Chai Latte is almost the same as the Masala Chai, which is Water, Milk, CTC Black Tea Sweeteners, and Masala (Spices ), except for the extra creamy and frothy milk added to it at the end.

Chai Latte Recipe | Brewing Guide

Step 1 - Prepare Fresh Water and let it boil on a low flame.

Step 2 - Once the water starts boiling, moderately toast your spices in a dry pan and Crush your herbs or spices and then add them to the boiling water for another minute.

Step 3 - Add CTC Black Tea Leaves and let it boil for a minute.

Step 4 - Add the Sweetener of your choice.

Step 5 - Mix well and Strain the Tea.

Step 6 - Froth the milk. You can whisk whole milk and shake it over medium heat. For others, you can use an immersion blender and froth before heating.

Step 7 - Heat the frothed milk till it's warm.

Sep 8 - Pour the warm tea base into a cup, and then add warm milk to it and stir. Top it up with the frothed milk.

Step 9 -Serve Hot or Cold

4. Blended Chai - What is Blended Chai?

From its native land, India, to the counter of Starbucks, Chai has seen a lot of variations and blends by now. From turning it into a latte to making it a Frappuccino, here are the top 3 Chai blends that will make a place in your next Chai order:

  1. Dirty Chai Latte- Dirty Chai Lattes are regular chai lattes with espresso added. It makes a great morning pick-me-up when served with cold milk! This sugary and spicy shot of caffeine is a celebrity favorite, too, with Oprah Winfrey regularly seen with a cup around.
  2. Chai Frappuccino- 1. A Starbucks hit, chai Frappuccino is a beautiful blend of classic masala chai, milk, and ice topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
  3. Vanilla Chai tea- 1. Another boost of flavors and balances, Vanilla Chai tea is people's favorite. The sweet vanilla beautifully balances the robust flavors of cinnamon cardamom, ginger, and cloves. The full flavors will surely blow your mind!

What are the Benefits of Chai, Masala Chai or Chai Latte?

Chai has been a drink close to Indians for its taste, refreshing qualities, and several health benefits. Add a few spices to it of your choice and need, and you get a potent health potion. As most people might overlook the benefits that come with Chai, here are some benefits of Chai that you just can't miss.

  • It is a treasure trove of antioxidants. Adding cardamom, cinnamon, etc., adds to the antioxidant content. Antioxidants are also known to fight certain cancer cells.
  • The consumption of black tea can help prevent gastrointestinal troubles and positively affect digestion.
  • A warm cup of chai or milk tea will help you fight or ward off cold symptoms completely.
  • Milk tea is known to help soothe pain and discomfort, from headaches to period pain and sore throat to muscle pains.
  • If you add cinnamon to your Chai, it will help lower your blood pressure.

Image of Tea Garden in Assam

Popular Chai Producing Regions in the World

The CTC black teas from Assam and Darjeeling India are the most popular Chai tea-producing regions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chai?

FAQ 1 : Why is Tea called Chai?

The name Chai is derived from the Hindi word for Tea, which was referred from the word “cha,” the Chinese word for “Tea.”

In the case of the West, Chai is usually referred to as milk tea.

FAQ 2 : Is Chai Tea healthier than Coffee?

While milk tea/chai and coffee have benefits, chai has more antioxidants and less caffeine. Hence, we can say that chai is a healthier option than coffee.

FAQ 3 : What is the difference between Chai and Masala Chai?

The main difference between Chai and Masala Chai is the addition of spices and herbs in the case of Masala Chai.

FAQ 4 : Is Masala Chai unhealthy?

The health benefits of masala chai depend on the spices used in the tea. Masala chai is a treasure of health benefits and taste.

Like any other herbs or medicine, too much of this ingredient can cause uneasiness.

If you have any suggestions or need any help or information regarding Chai Tea please feel free to leave us a message in the comment below, and we would be glad to help you out.

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