What is chai tea you might be asking yourself? This crazy buzz word that is flung around like no ones business, but the reality is that no one really knows what is a chai tea… until they read this article that is 🙂
Nowadays, tea houses are becoming known, contending with coffee shops all around the world when it comes to popularity and taste. Masala chai (spiced tea), or commonly known as “chai tea” is usually the highlight of tea and milk tea houses. Aside from its benefits, chai tea is usually drunk as a recreational beverage comparable to milkshakes and coffee lattes. In fact, chai lattes are becoming popular in this day and age. Some like it like this spicy chai and yet others will enjoy a more modern twist like this vanilla rooibos chai which I am thinking actually belongs over at http://rooibosvanilla.wordpress.com/ !
Chai tea comes from South Asia, particularly in India. India is one of the world’s largest tea producers. For centuries, chai tea has been served in India’s households, and each family has their own way of making chai tea. Chai tea has four primary ingredients and is never complete without any of these: black tea, milk, sugar and spices.
The black tea usually used in chai tea is Assam tea, a black tea named after a region in India where this tea is cultivated. Assam tea is recognized by its strong, rich flavor. It is particularly used so that the taste of black tea will not be masked when added with milk, sweeteners and other spices.
Buffalo’s milk is usually added to chai tea in the Indian culture. Western countries have added whole milk and some health conscious consumers put non-fat dairy milk. Condensed milk is also an alternative for those who want to achieve a sweeter taste, reducing or eliminating the use of sugar and sweeteners.
White sugar is usually used, but brown sugar, syrups, and even honey, can be added. Sugar is added depending on personal preference. Some eliminate the use of sugar but it is an important ingredient since it neutralizes the effect of the spices and brings out the flavor of the milk and black tea.
Finally, chai tea is never itself without the spices. Ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and pepper are the ones usually added. They give heat and warmth to the drink and are also responsible for many of the health benefits chai tea offers.
Chai teas are now sold in stores and are available in many variants: in teabags, liquid concentrates, and powdered mixes. Teabags contain black tea with spices and is brewed in hot milk, and added with sugar. It can also be brewed in hot water before adding milk and sugar. Bottled, ready to drink preparations are also available so you can enjoy chai tea anytime, anywhere.