In Hindi the word Chai is merely the generic term for tea. However for most of the western world the word chai has come to imply masala chai or spiced tea. It is traditionally made with a black tea called Assam and has been savored in India for centuries. Black Chai Tea is more than just a simple tea since spices are added to the drink and refined with sugar and milk. The usual spices used for Black Chai Tea are pepper and ginger with a mix of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The beverage is served hot. Sweetening the tea is a method of bringing out the flavor of the spices at full strength.
There are many brands that carry their own blend of Chai. But if you like to experiment with your own variation here is a simple way to prepare chai that only requires a few ingredients.
Here is one example of a recipe.
1.5 cups of water
1.5 inch cinnamon stick
2/3 cups of milk
3 TBS of Assam Tea Leaves
6 TBS of Sugar
8 Cardamom pods
.25 inch ginger root (fresh and thinly sliced)
The first step is to boil the cardamom pods, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon in a pot then lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar to the mix and let it continue to simmer. The last step is to add the tea leaves. Wait for 4 minutes and you’re done.
The process is relatively simple, the ingredients are not that hard to find. The tea leaves can be ordered from a shop or online.
Assam Black is usually used because of the strong bold flavor is processes but there are others that certainly can be used. Because of the popularity of Chai, many tea companies carry and array of different versions. Depending on your wants or needs will depend on either an herbal version such as rooibos or yerba mate or a traditional version with black tea.
The Rooibos variant of this tea originates from South Africa. Unlike the black chai variant, a slice of lemon is mixed with the tea instead of milk. Sugar is not as necessary to the mixture since Rooibos is naturally sweet but it can be used to pull out more spices. Rooibos tea is actually red tea but it can be prepared the same way the black tea is prepared.
Yerba Mate is another type of tea that is grown in South America, particularly Northern Argentina and its outlying neighbors all the way down to the Southern Brazil. Yerba Mate is described as having a grassy taste, herbal, and similarities with other green tea. Because of the bold earthiness of the yerba mate it holds up very well to the chai spices. Many like this version because of the vast health benefits as well as the sustained energy levels the yerba mate plant give you.
If you want to spice up your tea drinking experience, preparing and enjoying a good cup of chai just might be what you are looking for. We currently offer two different version of chai. We have a Red Bush Chai for anyone that loves warms spices but want a naturally caffeine free tea and we have a wonderful Chai Spice Mate for anyone that wants a little get up and go. We encourage you to try both as they are very different and offer very different tea tasting experiences.