What is Indian Masala Chai?
Masala chai, or mixed spice tea, is a drink from India made by brewing black tea with milk and a mixture of spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Some people prefer unsweetened chai tea, however, I think some sweetness enhances the spices. People in India drink it 3 to 6 times a day in small portions (called Cutting). The spice mixture is high in antioxidants and helps to protect against cold and flu. If you need to avoid caffeine, Masala Chai has much lower caffeine content than coffee. The consumption of Masala Chai can also calm an upset stomach (non Dairy version). Adding fresh ginger adds a nice kick to the tea and provides more health benefits.
Where to find the best Indian Chai Patti (Tea leaves)?
I have been drinking Chai for many years now but in 2016 I went to Kerala (Kolukkumalai, Munnar) and thats where I found the best tea leaves ever. The Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is the World’s highest Organic Tea Garden.
We decided to take the tour of the whole estate and the tea making factory. It was an amazing experience and I learnt so much about all the tedious processes that goes into producing the best tea leaves. If you cant get it directly from India, you can always buy good quality black tea leaves from Indian grocery stores.
What are the Ingredients to make Indian Masala Chai?
- 2 cups water (for 4 servings)
- 2 cups whole milk (for vegan version: use 4 cups of almond/coconut milk with no water added). Please note: Almond milk does not contain any dairy, lactose, soy, eggs, cholesterol, gluten, MSG, or casein or whey (milk proteins). Almond milk is not safe to drink if you are allergic to almonds.
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced or grated
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons of loose leaf black tea
- 3 lime leaves (optional but gives it a nice subtle flavor)
- raw sugar or coconut sugar or honey (quantity depends on how sweet you like it)
How to make the best Indian Masala Tea?
- Lightly crush the cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves in a mortar and pestle.
- Put water (for vegan version: 2 cups of your nut milk) in a pot and add the crushed cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper and lime leaves.
- Bring the mixture to a boil
- Add the tea and milk (for vegan version: the rest of your nut milk = 2 cups)
- Simmer for 4 minutes (let it come to a boil again)
- Remove from heat and let the spices infuse their flavor for another 3 minutes.
- Use a fine sieve and strain it into a teapot or directly into the serving cups
Whats the best way to serve the Masala Chai?
There is no right way to serve chai. The idea is to enjoy the delicious aroma and the savory kick of all the infused spices. As I mentioned above, Indians usually drink it in a very small glass or stainless steal cup. In the pictures shown here we have used the Espresso cup and saucers from KABINETo which you can buy from here. This white Espresso Cup & Saucer has been handcrafted from fine white stoneware which is a much more durable material than a regular ceramic. No two pieces are alike – each cup & saucer clearly expresses the individuality of the maker’s hand. It is made from fine white stoneware, fired in the kiln all the way up to 2200°F. Stoneware is a much more durable material than a regular ceramic cup & saucer.
Made Of Stoneware
Made In Czech Republic
Measures Cup: 2.5″ height, 2.2″ diameter / Saucer: 4.6″ diameter