Spicy and frothy, masala chai is the best of all caffeinated drinks. Masala chai is most commonly known as “chai tea” here in the United States, a misnomer that we at the Clog highly disapprove of. While this nickname might seem harmless, the whitewashed phrase literally means “tea tea.” Not only does this sound ridiculous, but it also gives you absolutely no information about the tea itself.
What type of tea is it? Tea tea. Is it milk-based or water-based? Who knows, it’s just tea tea. Just like all other teas, we firmly believe that chai deserves to be recognized by its true name — masala chai, or just chai for short.
Rant aside, masala chai is a milk-based, spiced black tea. The spices used can vary depending on the region of India you go to but are commonly cardamom, clove and cinnamon. Variants also include ginger, black peppercorn, star anise and nutmeg. While it may currently seem too hot for a warm and rich tea, the beverage can, in fact, be very refreshing, and it’s the perfect pick-me-up for a rainy day.
- 1.5 cups of whole milk or 2% (if using reduced fat milk or non-dairy milk, reduce to 1 cup)
- 1.5 cups of water (if using reduced-fat milk or non-dairy milk, reduce to 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea leaves, or 2 black tea bags
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 black cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks or a large pinch of cinnamon powder
- 1-inch fresh ginger
Heat the water in a pot. Once the water has warmed up, add tea leaves and spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger). Let boil for 8 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil over. Add milk and boil until beverage reaches a pale brown color — the darker the liquid, the stronger and more caffeinated the drink. Once you add the milk, the risk of overflowing increases significantly, so be sure to carefully watch your pot! If you are using loose-leaf tea, be sure to strain your drink. Then pour into your mug of choice and enjoy your caffeine kick of the day!