Chai - Spiced Tea


 10 Dec, 2008 |  Written by Anupa Mueller

Most of you probably know that the word "Chai" means TEA in many parts of the world. This includes India. Here in the US, though, CHAI means Spiced Tea. In India, that would be called "Masala Chai", literally Spice Tea.

Chai used to be only Black tea with spices. Any combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, vanilla, black pepper, fennel blended with black tea would result in a wonderful, warm, creamy drink. Chai is always served, cafe-au-lait style, already mixed with milk and sugar. Chai has morphed over the years, of course. Now it is available in several bases - Black, Green, White, Rooibos and in many formats - leaf, powder, liquid. We offer several, including:
Chai - the original blend, with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and vanilla
Temple Chai - green cardamom and vanilla
Chocolate Chai - with chocolate chips and chocolate flavor
Herbal Chai - Chai on a rooibos base, no caffeine
Chai Zing - Rooibos Chai with lemongrass
Coconut Chai - with shreds of coconut
Fennel Chai - with fennel seeds

Chai powder can be found at most Indian grocery stores. All across India, milk and water are brought to boil, BOP or CTC tea thrown in, chai powder added along with sugar and voila! you have Masala Chai. We've upgraded that basic formula in the US, added a much better quality leaf, whole spices, flavoring and made it a more upscale product.

Chai is versatile. A hot cup of Chai is, of course, obvious. Froth the milk and a latte is born. Add Chocolate Syrup, blend it with Hot Chocolate or mix with coffee. All of it works. In the summer, Iced Chai with whipped cream or ice cream is fabulous. Start with a scoop of ice cream at the bottom of a tall glass, add iced chai, top it off with whipped cream and you may just have created an addiction.

My favorite is Temple Chai - clean, fragrant, easy to enjoy. If you're new to Chai, experiment - you are sure to find one you love.

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