5 Easy, Homemade Chai Tea Latte Recipes to Celebrate Chai Tea Day

Chai Tea Latte

For all Chai tea lovers, September 21st is a day for a celebration. The National Chai Day was founded only last year, but won the attention of many chai lovers around the world. This doesn’t surprise us at all. Chai is the ultimate autumn and winter drink, warming, delicious and soothing. Besides, the blend of spices can be tailored to satisfy even the most demanding tea drinkers. Exactly because of its warming and friendly character, chai is loved even by people who don’t enjoy regular tea with milk. And chai is much more than just a milk tea.

Ready to celebrate the National Chai Tea day? Learn to make chai from a scratch following our 5 easy chai tea latte recipes.

The history of Chai

Apparently, the history of chai begins before real tea was used in India, and even before it was discovered. The first tea plant in India was planted by the British in the early 19th century. Although the Assam varietal was naturally growing in the wild, it was only after the early 19th century that tea became widely known. Legend says that a blend of spices was used to create a soothing beverage more than 5000 years ago. Although it might not be correct to call this drink tea, we can link it to today’s chai. Chai still has an importance in the Indian Ayurveda, and it’s much more than just a warming drink. A cup of chai should give you a warming feeling, and act as a digestive. Research showed that a cup of chai might offer a lot of benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and chemo-protective effects[1].

A cup of Chai tea

A cup of Chai tea

The difference between Chai and Chai Masala

Chai tea, chai latte tea, chai latte are some words used for this tea with milk, sugar and spices. In fact, the correct name is “chai” only, meaning tea in Hindu. It can include any tea, but because Indian people drink mostly tea with milk and sugar, it became a standard word for this drink. Masala chai is tea with sugar, milk and additional spices. Common spices include cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cloves and fennel. Nutmeg, chili, saffron, vanilla, coriander seeds and coco shells can also be added to spice things up.

Tip: You can intensify a pre-made chai blend by adding more spices.

Although the traditional recipe includes strong black tea, you can use many other teas for making this delicious drink. The best option is a strong black loose leaf tea, sweet and full-bodied rooibos and even pu’erh tea. Whichever tea you choose, it should be strong enough to handle milk, sugar, and spices.

Summer Chai blend with rooibos

Summer Chai blend with rooibos

The authentic Chai

It’s difficult to say which chai is really authentic, because there are many preparation techniques and spice blends used in different parts of India. Besides, every family will have their own way of making tea.

Tip: Create your own blend of spices and save in a jar for future brewing.

In India, chai is usually served on the street by chai-wallah—people making and serving chai. They pour chai from the height, back and forth before serving, to assure the drink has an optimal temperature, texture and foam and a perfect balance of flavors. Traditionally, chai-wallahs serve chai in small clay cups called kulhar. However, as kulhars are disposable and more expensive, they are often replaced with another cheaper type of cups.

4 ways of making chai tea

The proper way of making chai includes boiling the spices for at least 10-20 minutes, commonly boiling them all together at once. The difference between traditional chai and chai latte is in the brewing method. You can use any of the following methods:

  1. Add fresh water and spices to the pan, bring to a boil and let it simmer for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea leaves. Let it steep for 3-5 minutes. Then add in milk and sugar, and simmer over medium-high heat until it foams. Strain and serve.
  2. Add tea leaves, sugar, spices and water to a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Use another pan for heating the milk. Use milk frother to make froth the milk. Strain the tea into a cup and pour in foamed milk.
  3. Add all ingredients into the pan, including milk, tea and sugar, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes with occasional stirring.
  4. If you are using a pre-made blend, you can simplify making Chai tea latte at home by brewing the tea in a teapot or using an infuser. Use less water and let is steep for 5 minutes. Strain, add sweetener and frothed hot milk. You can replace white or brown sugar with maple syrup or agave syrup.

Tip: If you are making chai from a scratch, use mortar and pestle to crush the spices.

Jump to recipe section and try to make your own chai using one of these four methods.

What are the key ingredients for a good chai?

Good water, appropriate full-bodied broken leaves tea, whole milk and sugar are important for making a delicious cup of chai. Although nowadays other types of dairy free milk like the almond and soya milk are popular for making chai lattes, the whole milk will give a better-tasting thicker cup. Use broken grade of tea leaves as they will release more flavor. Chai should not be watery and bland. You can use white or brown sugar for sweetening. You can drink chai without sugar, but it won’t be as tasty and full.

For masala chai, a blend of spices can be either fresh or dried. They can be whole or roughly ground, although it’s better to crush them so they can release more flavor.

The most common spices for chai tea

The most common spices for chai tea

5 Easy Homemade Chai Tea Latte Recipes

You can make chai tea from the scratch or with a pre-made blend of tea and spices. Both will taste delicious if you follow a few simple steps. There is a big difference between the Indian chai, home-made chai and coffee shop chai latte. Coffee shops usually use chai tea concentrate as a base and add steamed milk and foam.

Tip: The best tea for chai should be full-bodied, strong, rich in color and tasty. Choose Indian tea leaf such as Golden Mangalam or CTC type like the one Simple Chai Tea. Another option is Ceylon black tea like Super Pekoe or Everest Breakfast.

Simple Chai with CTC leaves

Simple Chai with CTC leaves

The Real Chai Masala

Although there isn’t a unique recipe for a traditional chai tea, authentic one always includes black tea mixed with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon bark. Black peppercorns deepen the warmth and star anise give a wonderful note of sweetness and spiciness.

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

2 cups of water

1-2 spoons of sugar

2 spoons of black tea leaves

2 Star anise

¼ teaspoon of black peppercorns

½ teaspoon of crushed cinnamon bark

5 Cloves

5-8 green cardamom pods

Tip: For a sweeter and fuller flavor, Honeyed Black tea matches the chai personality perfectly.

Turmeric Chai

Aromatic turmeric and spicy ginger make a great warming duo for winter months.

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

2 cups of water

1-2 spoons of sugar

2 spoons of black tea leaves

½ of crushed fresh ginger

½ teaspoon of turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon of black peppercorns

5-8 green cardamom pods

¼ teaspoon of crushed cinnamon bark

2-3 Cloves

Tip: Based on personal preferences, add more or less spices and sugar.

Extra Hot Chai Tea Recipe

Some days require extra hot drinks to warm you up. The ultimate winter warmer is enhanced with chili pods and warming black peppercorns and ginger.

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

2 cups of water

1-2 spoons of sugar

2 spoons of black tea leaves

1 small chilli pepper

½ teaspoon of black peppercorns

1/8 teaspoon of dried ginger

Tip: For a fast brewing, use a regular chai blend and add dried chilli peppers, fresh ginger and whole peppercorns.

Rooibos Chai Tea

A caffeine-free version of chai is a great option for anyone sensitive to caffeine. Rooibos blends perfectly with spices, and can tolerate high heat without getting bitter. You can ever reduce the amount of sugar because of natural sweetness and no bitterness.

Ingredients:

1 cup of whole milk

1 cup of water

2 drops of vanilla extract

1 spoon of sugar

1 spoon of red rooibos tea leaves

½ teaspoon of cocoa nibs

¼ teaspoon of fresh crushed ginger

1 teaspoon of cardamom pods

½ teaspoon of crushed cinnamon bark

½ teaspoon of cloves

Green Chai Tea

Green tea can serve as a tea base for making a delicious chai too. Use stronger green teas and add them at the end or your tea will be too bitter.

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

2 cups of water

1-2 spoons of sugar

2 spoons of Gunpowder tea

1 teaspoon of crushed peppermint leaves

½ teaspoon of fresh crushed ginger

1 teaspoon of green cardamom

½ teaspoon of black peppercorns

1 teaspoon of cloves

Tip: For a quicker brewing, use Moroccan tea blend with peppermint as a tea base.

 

References:

[1] https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2010-06/anti-inflammatory-and-chemopreventative-effects-chai-tea

Disclaimer:

Information provided is for reference only. Self-treating health problems with tea is not advisable and you should always consult your doctor when you plan to change your diet while suffering from serious diseases or taking medication. All real teas contain caffeine and may not be suitable for people sensitive to caffeine. Drinking huge amounts of tea might have a negative impact on health.

Loose Leaf Tea

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