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Masala Chai 101

"Chai Tea" Recipes, Reviews & More

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An image of less common masala chai spices, including poppy seeds, nutmeg, coriander, mace, allspice

Although we usually think of masala chai as a blend of milk, water, sugar, black tea, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, it can also include spices like poppy seeds, nutmeg, coriander, mace, allspice and vanilla extract.

Lindsey Goodwin
Masala Chai Basics

Also known as "chai tea," masala chai is typically a spiced black tea served with milk and sugar. Chai hails from India and masala chai literally means "spiced tea" in Hindi.

Since it was invented as an Ayurvedic tonic over 5,000 years ago, masala chai has gone through many transitions. Although cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and black tea are typically considered to by the core ingredients of masala chai, an enormous range of ingredients are used to make masala chai to this day.

You can learn more about masala chai's history and spiced used in masala chai in separate articles, but if you're interested in checking out masala chai product reviews and recipes, then read on...

Instant "Chai Tea" Reviews

If you've had much chai at coffeehouses, then you've probably had an instant chai mix before. Instant "chai tea" is available in syrups and powders. Most instant chais are prepared by mixing them with hot water, hot milk or both.

Here are reviews of some of the instant chais you can buy to make at home: Teabag Masala Chai Reviews

If you prefer fresh-brewed tea to instant tea, but you don't have the time / equipment / set-up for loose-leaf tea, then chai teabags could be a good option for you. Many grocery store brands offer chai in teabags. You may also want to read my four-star review of Good Earth Chai Tea.

Loose-Leaf Masala Chai Reviews

If you want a higher quality, more authentic masala chai, but you don't have time to mix the spices from scratch, then loose-leaf masala chai is a great option for you. There are many loose-leaf masala chai blends available, including traditional blends of ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and black tea, as well as unusual chai blends with ingredients like green tea, rooibos, cacao nibs or licorice root.

Here are a few loose-leaf masala chai blends I've reviewed on About.com: Other Masala Chai Reviews

The naturally spicy-sweet flavor of masala chai lends itself to many culinary uses. You may have seen chai in baked good, chocolates and other products.

If you're interested in foods and other products made with chai as a flavor, here are a couple of masala chai product reviews you might enjoy: Traditional Masala Chai Recipes

Masala chai originated as an herbal blend and has since gone through many iterations in India. Today, just like many Americans have family recipes for things like chocolate chip cookies, many Indians have family recipes for masala chai -- each a little different and each sure to stir up a passionate argument for why it's the best recipe ever.

Here are some of the many traditional masala chai recipes out there: Contemporary Masala Chai Recipes

Since masala chai was introduced to the American coffeehouse scene, it has become a basic spicy-sweet flavor profile onto which many other flavors can be added. It's used as a base for smoothies, cookies, unusual herbal blends, vanilla chai lattes and much more.

Here are some Americanized or otherwise non-traditional masala chai recipes I think you'll enjoy: Read Page Two for more non-traditional chai recipes and more on caffeine-free masala chais.
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