What is Masala Chai?
Masala Chai is an Indian tea blend famous for its spice and robust flavor. We have several chais available, but they all include some sort of base - usually a black tea from Assam, or in the case of our herbal chai, Rooibos from South Africa. Included are spices like cardamom, clove, and ginger as well as peppercorns, lemongrass, star anise, etc. depending on the chai you are looking at.
Benefits of Masala Chai
A cup of masala chai is a great way to enjoy a delicious, flavorful drink. Made with a blend of spices like black peppercorns, green cardamom pods, and chai tea leaves, it's a great way to start the day. The addition of fresh ginger, maple syrup and a spice grinder to finely grind the spices gives the chai a unique flavor. You can make your cup of chai with a cup of milk, steamed milk, oat milk, almond milk, or cashew milk. In addition, you can opt for traditional loose tea leaves or chai tea bags. For an even creamier, unique experience, try making a masala chai latte. The delicious drink is made by mixing one cup of water, one cup of chai tea, and your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk.
What is the difference between organic & regular Masala Chai?
Organic Masala Chai contains exclusively organic ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Organic ingredients are produced without the use of pesticides. Additionally, organic masala chai is made from a rich blend of aromatic spices and herbs that create a spicy yet refreshing taste. These herbs can include chai masala, loose tea leaves, quality herbs and fresh herbs.
Masala Chai History
Chai, a drink almost all Americans know and love to some degree. What the masses know as Chai is a different form than when it originated thousands of years ago. But before we jump into the history behind it, let’s look at the name. In the Hindi language, Chai translates into the word “tea”. Bet you didn’t know that. Essentially when anyone orders a chai tea they are really ordering a “tea tea”. In Chai’s birthplace of India it is known as Masala Chai, which when translated means “spiced tea”. This version of the name makes more sense, providing the masses with a literal description of what they are consuming. Now that you have a little knowledge of Chai, let’s jump right into its history!
There is no definitive timeline of when Chai originated as the folklore surrounding it dates back to between 5,000 and 9,000 years ago. It is believed to have been created by a King in India as a way to help with ailments, making it an ayurvedic beverage. There was no one right or wrong way to create Chai, with many recipes being utilized during that time period. But it did not contain the most important ingredient till the 1930s, black tea.
In the 1830s the British began to set up tea plantations in Assam, India. This is when we begin to see the early arrival of Chai as we know it today. A combination of black tea, spices, milk, and sweetener became Masala Chai. The only downside to this creation was that tea was primarily an export for the British and was too expensive for most Indian people in the Assam region. High-quality whole-leaf tea otherwise known as “orthodox” tea was what the British exclusively drank as it was the most expensive form of tea during this time period. With a push from the British owned Indian Tea Association in the 1900s, Indian tea consumption grew in popularity with the locals. The masses were drinking CTC tea, otherwise known as Crush Tear Curl. The CTC method produced a lower grade, strong in flavor, and quick brewing tea. Though CTC might be seen as a lower quality tea it was just the right one for a sweet, creamy, spiced drink like Masala Chai.
As Chai continued to evolve and change it became increasingly popular regardless of status or wealth. With the growth of mechanical tea production making black tea more affordable, CTC Masala Chai remains popular in India and grew in popularity all over the world. In the United States for example iced Chai tea lattes and a drink named a dirty chai have become commonplace in most US coffee and tea shops. With this growing popularity in the US more tea aficionados are enjoying high grade loose leaf Masala Chai, enhancing the experience even further with this delightful beverage.
Recipe: How to make Masala Chai
Can be served hot or iced
Masala chai is a popular Indian beverage that combines black tea, milk, and aromatic spices. This comforting and flavorful drink can be easily prepared at home with simple ingredients. Here is how to make the perfect cup of masala chai:
Brew the Chai:
- In a saucepan, add 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil.
- Add the chai tea leaves and freshly grated ginger to the boiling water.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.
Add Milk and Sweetener:
- Pour in 1 cup of the milk of your choice.
- Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of your sweetener,, adjusting the sweetness to your preference.
Simmer and Strain:
- Simmer until the milk starts to boil. Once this happens, cut the heat. Be sure to not let your milk boil over
Strain and Serve:
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, pour the masala chai into your favorite cup.
- Discard the tea leaves left in the strainer. Tea leaves are compostable as well.
Optional Foam (For Chai Latte):
- If you want to make a chai latte with steamed milk, use a milk frother to foam your milk of choice until it's creamy.
- Sip and savor the delightful blend of tea and spices in your cup of masala chai. Enjoy hot or pour the hot tea over ice to enjoy cold.
This homemade masala chai will fill your senses with its rich aroma and warm, comforting flavors, making it the perfect beverage for any time of day. Adjust the sweetness and milk type to suit your preferences.