Chai (Indian Tea) (Indian Tea)

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I was in India about a year and a half ago. It was a chilly January morning in Delhi, and my cousin and I had gotten a room in a lovely guesthouse on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University. We’d spent the most of the night catching up with friends at the dhabas (street restaurants) that JNU is famed for, and we’d finally crashed into bed about 3 a.m. A knock came on the door of our room about 6.30 a.m. I opened the door, bleary-eyed, to be met by a familiar, but forgotten, sight, the tea guy. When he notices my sleepiness, he asks me liltingly, with a question mark, Chaaiya? After a few minutes of wiping my eyes, I realized what he was offering, and I gave him a few rupees and snatched a few lotas (small steel tumblers) of scorching hot tea from him. When I drank that hot, sweet, and aromatic beverage, I sat on my bed and told my (still sleeping) cousin about the tea and all the university memories that were closely linked to it.

That small cup of tea has so much power in India!

What could be more truly Indian than a steaming hot cup of chai at a street dhaba (eatery), the hot beverage scented with spices, the thick fragrance suffusing your senses, gently tempting you awake after a long night of carousing, sorry, studying? That’s some chai for you. Chai is an Indian tea that is often milky, robust, and sweet, with a lot of spices. It is normally produced in pots that sit over a fire, and it is stirred and stewed until it gets its distinctive golden color, and all of the spices that have been added are wonderfully integrated into it. It is loved by a broad range of people across India, from the caricature of the bureaucrat sitting in his hot dusty office to the bullock cart man sitting on the roadside, drinking his tumbler of chai.

I am not the greatest expert on chai; nonetheless, all those cups consumed in different areas of India have provided me with a knowledge of this cool, yet soothing drink that is adored by the majority of Indians. Chai is a basic mixture of strong black Indian tea, generally granulated rather than loose leaf, milk, and sugar that is simmered on a stove top until it is powerful enough to drive away any remaining vestiges of sleep or lethargy. It is comparable to strong builders tea from England in many aspects and is most likely used for the same purpose. This amazing mixture is a treat in any case, and it is slowly gaining appeal in the Western world.

Teas from India:

Tea has long been associated with India. Indian teas are famous and sought after, from the powerful strong Assam tea to the delicate Darjeeling infusions to the lesser known, but no less wonderful Nilgiri tea. Assam tea was adopted by the British, who were looking for an alternative to the monopoly of Chinese tea at the time. After a few failed efforts to cultivate Chinese tea in the valleys of Assam and Darjeeling, the Brits declared that Indian tea was much better. Tea was then cultivated in plantations across India’s North East, and was generally known as Assam Tea, after the biggest of the North Eastern states. Roughly 60% of India’s tea exports are cultivated here. This tea is often blended with other teas; nevertheless, pure Assam tea is becoming more popular.
Darjeeling tea, on the other hand, has the light color and delicate smell that distinguishes Chinese teas. Darjeeling tea is highly sought after by tea lovers and has recently become some of the most expensive tea in the world, especially single estate teas such as Silver Tips or first flush Darjeelings.

Nilgiri tea, as opposed to Darjeeling or Assam tea, is cultivated in southern India, namely on the slopes of the stunning Nilgiri Hills or the Blue Mountains. The Nilgiri hills (together with Sri Lanka) are home to one of the world’s most popular teas, Orange Pekoe. However, since it is a cheaper form of tea, the original Nilgiri tea is utilized more in tea blends and granulated tea for the general market. Nonetheless, it is seeing a rebirth among more knowledgeable tea consumers, and one might hope that this magnificent, black, and aromatic tea will become as widely recognized as other Indian teas.

The History of Masala Chai:

Masala chai, on the other hand, comes from humbler beginnings. Although the term chai literally means tea (which is why you should never ask for chai tea, since you are simply asking for tea tea), it is most often associated with spiced tea, or masala chai. Spices were infused into tea consumed by Indians, most likely to conceal the fact that the tea was inferior to that shipped by the British. Yet, as time progressed, masala chai or spiced chai grew more popular, not only in India, but worldwide. Chai is currently offered all throughout the globe, and the real taste and flavor vary greatly from person to person, with everyone and their mother claiming to create the greatest chai.

Chai, on the other hand, has a very personal flavor, and the formula differs from family to family and from state to state within India itself. There is no established formula for tea, and anybody who says differently is not faithful to the essence of chai. Everyone claims to have the greatest and most genuine chai recipe, which begs the question, “What exactly are the spices used to create chai?”

Chai Spice Blend:

The spices used in chai have long been a source of contention among Indians. Individuals swear by their own mixtures, yet what constitutes authentic chai remains a mystery. Some people believe that all you need to make chai is black tea, milk, sugar, and crushed ginger. Some suggest that unusual spices were added to the stewing tea. Some argue that cardamom provides the genuine flavor of chai. Mint has been proposed as an uncommon chai flavoring. Condensed milk is used in certain families to create chai.

Despite the spice blend, no one can deny the health benefits of this hot beverage. A hot cup of chai with an infusion of spices, herbs, and black pepper has been used to treat anything from a common cold to an upset stomach. It reminds me of stormy and wet monsoon days and is the ideal cure to the chilly winter blues.

There is no elitism connected with chai, and there should be none. If there is, they have completely missed the purpose of chai. It’s perhaps the most democratic drink you’ll find, with everyone from the street sweeper to the prime minister drinking it. Chai, to put it poetically, is India! With all of its turmoil and contradictions, but majestic and spiritual, hot, sweet, and dusty, loud and silent all at once, intellectual, yet common, crazy busy, yet somehow melding together in a lovely manner. Whichever way you look at it, it’s an experience to savor and remember for the rest of your life.

Well, here’s my chai recipe. Remember what I said before? Indeed, this is my own particular chai recipe, and it will not be what every other family in India makes. I think you will quickly find your own chai formula based on the spices you like and detest, and it will become your very own unique brew. So, go crazy and try with any spice you can think of (maybe not the chilli, leave that to the Aztecs, what say?)


1 tablespoon whole green cardamoms
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 or 2 inch cinnamon stick
3-4 star anise petals tsp fennel seeds tsp whole black peppercorns inch piece ginger, gently smashed
4 to 6 teaspoons loose strong black tea (or 1 2 black tea bags) *I make use of my prized Nilgiri tea, which I snuck into Canada.
500 mL of boiling water
To taste, add milk or cream and sugar (or use sweetened condensed milk to taste)


Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods. Crush all of the spices roughly in a mortar and pestle. Don’t bother about making a fine powder out of them.

In a teapot, combine the loose tea (or teabag) and spices. Let the ginger and freshly heated water to steep for at least 3 5 minutes. This tea will be fairly powerful, so steep for just 2 minutes if you like a milder tea that you will sip without milk.

Pour the tea into mugs or teacups through a fine mesh strainer, add milk or cream and sugar to taste, and serve.

Here are some ideas to help you use up all of that chai mix you’re creating now.


What is Indian chai tea made of?

Chai recipes differ between countries, nations, communities, and families. Nevertheless, traditional spiced tea blend components often include black tea combined with strong spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and black peppercorns.

What kind of tea is Indian chai?

With a few exceptions, black tea is the basis of chai. There are many different types of black tea, but Assam is the most often used in chai due to its robust, full-bodied taste.

What is Indian chai tea good for?

Chai tea provides several health advantages, including improved digestion, reduced inflammation, immune system boost, and more.
High in antioxidants.
Improves cardiac health.
Enhances digestion.
Improves energy and alertness.
It’s good for your skin.
It reduces inflammation.
It’s good for your teeth.
Defends against colds.
More to come…

Is Chai Tea Indian tea?

Chai is a prized beverage in India, valued not just for its robustness and delectability, but also for its medicinal benefits. Masala chai, or authentic Indian chai, is brewed with water, milk, sugar, black tea, and spices, which often include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and fennel.

Is Indian chai tea high in caffeine?

Chai tea has a moderate caffeine content. This tea mix comprises black tea leaves as well as additional herbs and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. These herbs and spices are caffeine-free, however black tea leaves are.

Is it OK to drink Indian chai tea everyday?

Absolutely, you can drink chai tea every day. It has more polyphenols (antioxidants) than other fruits and vegetables, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and protects cell health, among other health advantages.

Does chai tea make you sleepy?

Would Masala Chai Put You To Sleep? A warm cup of chai does not have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee (it generally has about a third of the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of joe). But, it still contains a natural stimulant, making it a wonderful drink during the day – or a dangerous disruptor at night.

Do you put milk in chai tea?

Chai is generally made with milk in India, but the beautiful thing about Real Chai is that you can prepare it whatever you like. It just includes spices and tea, so if you don’t want to use milk, just leave it out for a great black tea version. Personally, I prefer Soy Milk over dairy milk in my tea.

Is it good to drink chai tea Everyday?

Since chai tea contains more polyphenols than most fruits and vegetables, consuming it on a regular basis may help safeguard general cell health. Clove and cinnamon are two plants with strong antioxidant levels, and chai tea includes both of them.

Does chai tea burn belly fat?

Compounds contained in the sort of black tea used to produce chai may also increase fat breakdown and help minimize the quantity of calories your body receives from meals, according to research ( 30 ).

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