What is Chai?
Masala Chai ('spiced tea') is a spiced, lightly sweetened tea, brewed by decoction and consumed by millions of Indians every day.
Based on Ayurvedic medicinal practices, it has been used for thousands of years to harmonise both body and palate, promoting health and wellbeing.
Read more about the health benefits here.
Chai usually contains black tea, fresh ginger, spices, milk and jaggery, but there are infinite variations including caffeine, dairy and sugar free options.
The spices used vary between regions, seasons, households, and chaiwallahs, but commonly include ginger, cardamom, cinnamon & black pepper.
Chaiwallahs ('tea makers') make chai to order, served in small hand-thrown clay cups.
The chaiwallah is to Indians what the cab driver is to New Yorkers; the universal leveller that traverses ages and castes, chai is said to 'oil the wheels of India'.
Chai's popularity has soared in the West as people seek healthier, more satisfying alternatives to coffee. Instant powder and syrup 'Chai Lattes' seek to emulate the flavours of chai, but ultimately sacrifice both its essence and health benefits.
There is nothing more satisfying than brewing chai from scratch, so become a chaiwallah and embrace the ritual of making chai the traditional way - it will spoil you for anything else!