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:
- Rishi's Masala Chai Tea Concentrate -- 4.5 Stars
- David Rio's Tiger Spice Instant Chai Mix -- 4.5 Stars
- Oregon Chai's Peppermint Original Chai Concentrate -- 4 Stars
- David Rio's Elephant Vanilla Chai Mix -- 3.5 Stars
- David Rio's Orca Spice Sugar-Free Chai Mix -- 3 Stars
- David Rio's Toucan Mango Chai Mix -- 2.5 Stars
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:
- Rishi's Green Tea Chai -- 4 Stars
- Rishi's Vanilla Mint Chai -- 3.5 Stars
- Rishi's Chocolate Mate Chai -- 1.5 Stars
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: 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:
- Caffeine-Free Moon Chai combines a range of spices for a tasty, herbal chai.
- Caffeine-free Cardamom Herbal Chai is an easy, no-frills herbal chai recipe.
- Chai Tea With Fennel has a licorice-like edge to its spicy-sweet flavor.
- The unusual Chai Tea With Garam Masala is a spicy, vegan-friendly chai recipe.
- Four Spice Chai keeps it simple with four spices -- cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.
- Green Tea Chai is a lower-caffeine version of traditional masala chai.
- Indian Chai is a video tutorial on how to make basic masala chai.
- Exotic Kashmiri Chai is made with green tea, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron and powdered almonds.
- Masala Chai for Two is a fantastic traditional chai recipe.
- Basic Masala Chai Tea is ideal for beginner chai makers.
- This Simmered Masala Chai tutorial illustrates each step to making traditional masala chai.
- Vanilla Chai is an Americanized version of classic masala chai. It's great for those who like coffeeshop chai lattes.
- Yogi Tea is a large-batch chai recipe from Yoga Yoga, a yoga studio in Austin, Texas.
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:
- Banana Chai Smoothie 1 and Banana Chai Smoothie 2 incorporate masala chai into easy breakfast shakes.
- Warming Chai-Spiced White Hot Chocolate is one example of the many chai-flavored hot chocolate recipes out there.
- Chai Coffee Cocktail uses Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur to make a quick, easy chai-flavored coffee cocktail.
- Chai Frosting is a delicious icing for chocolate, spice or vanilla cakes, cupcakes or cookies.
- This instant Chai-Peppermint Hot Cocoa recipe uses Oregon Chai's Peppermint Chai as an added flavor.
- Chai Tea Mix is a recipe for home-blended loose-leaf masala chai. You can make it in advance for yourself or package it into tins as a homemade holiday gift.
- Chocolate Chai Coffee Granita and Instant Masala Chai Granita take iced chai to a new level by freezing it into a shaved ice-like treat.
- This Chocolate Chai Cookies recipe uses an instant chai mix as an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies.
- Clementine-Chai Sorbet is a summery, citusy, chai-infused treat.
- Dairy-Free Chai Tea Latte is a great option for vegans and those with lactose allergies / lactose intolerance.