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How to make chai tea?

Updated on July 8, 2018
pateluday profile image

Uday loves cooking and writes articles on Indian cuisine. He writes how to articles on food in India.

Tea pictures


Chai Tea - Camellia Sinensis

This marvellous hot beverage is consumed all over the World. But Indians consume it the most. Their version of this hot beverage is known as Chai Tea. It is a different way of making tea altogether and it is very popular all over India. The method of preparing the brew differs from that of other Asian countries.


Plain Chai is made using:

  • Blended Leaves
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Sugar.


1) The mix of water and milk is boiled and then the leaf, mostly black leaf is sprinkled in.
2) Sugar or jaggery is added to sweeten the mix.
3)The mixture is boiled two or three times and then strained to deliver a rusty brown liquid which is chai.

The taste can be varied by controlling the temperature, amount of leaf, milk and the boiling duration. The sweetener also makes a difference. Many people use jaggery instead of sugar and the taste varies. The leaf variety is mind boggling you should keep trying exotic varieties to bring a subtle change in the flavor and aroma. Some local spices may also impart a wonderful taste. Try It!

The hot beverage is consumed mostly in Northern and Western India. And even without the addition of spices, it has a tongue tingling taste. The taste, aroma and flavor far exceeds the concoctions prepared by the best tea makers in the World.

Chai is an integral part of Indian Cuisine. It is a beverage that has become synergistic with daily diet of Indians and symbolises the culture.

Brewed Chai Picture

Chai in a cup
Chai in a cup | Source

Photo Iced Tea

Iced Tea
Iced Tea | Source

Some Unique Flavors

The world has swallowed chai in forms unimaginable to the traditional connoisseurs. The modern flavors, latte, instant premix and liquid forms in exotic packaging are being consumed in many parts of the globe. Find below some non traditional flavors.

  • Almond Chai
  • Nutmeg
  • Caramel Chai
  • Chocolate Chai
  • Medicinal Herb Infusions
  • Coconut Chai
  • Saffron
  • Fennel Chai
  • Lemongrass Chai
  • Mango Chai
  • Orange Chai
  • Pumpkin Chai
  • Raspberry Chai
  • Spiced Apple Chai
  • Star Anise Chai
  • Vanilla Chai
  • Yerba Mate Chai

There are many non traditional flavors not mentioned here. These flavors and spices are able to create a fusion effect, which many will not find palatable but nevertheless they have found customers. Fast picking up chai latte made by adding spices, steamed milk and foam. These are being sold by some major coffee chains.

The trend is suggestive of greater variety of taste and aroma arising through creativity and innovations. The traditional beverage is slowly experiencing a paradigm shift.

Non traditional brew in varied forms has become a big business. Of this the most popular is the iced chai or iced tea sold in bottles, by vendor machines and lounges. The iced version makers have brought the product to homes.

Tea Video

Best of Indian Tea Leaves

Assam tea, especially the black variety is widely consumed in the North and Central India . In South the Nilgiri Leaf is very popular. It is sold in packets, hygienic bags, plastic pouches and small paper pouches as well. The packaged quantity ranges from 100 gm to one kilo.

The teas come in wide varieties of blends. The art of blending has grown among the Tea Houses in India. Various types of leaves are mixed to produce a particular blend that is appreciated by the connoisseurs.

The tea stall owners use dust leaf which is more economical. Leaf teas are used in households in the country. Indians prefer dark brew that delivers strong taste and aroma. Hence the brew is boiled a number of times to get these attributes. But this has to be done with caution as over boiling could result in imparting a bitter taste.

Darjeeling tea is upmarket premium leaf produced in Darjeeling District of West Bengal. This leaf is widely used in houses of the wealthy and is exported to many countries. There are many exporters in India who export the certified leaf. The flavor and aroma is dependent on the flush and the season.

Assam Leaf (Camellia sinensis var. assamica) delivers strong dark aromatic beverage and hence is popular all over the country. The leaves are cultivated in many gardens of Assam. The State cultivates wide variety of teas which include premium leaf, dust varieties and standard CTC. Mostly black leaf is processed and the premium variety is the chief ingredient of all popular blends.

Nilgiri Leaf is grown in the high altitude mountains of Western Ghats in Southern India. It is a strong highly aromatic black variety that is also blended with other varieties by popular tea companies. Orange Pekoe a hand sorted and highly expensive leaf is most popular in the country.

Different forms of leaves, most common being green, organic, white, oolong, Rooibos can be used while making this brew. The above described leaves are traditionally used in India. But is there a limit?

Chai in Photos

Chai Tea Stalls
Chai Tea Stalls | Source
Ginger Chai
Ginger Chai | Source
Chai Tea
Chai Tea | Source

Image Masala Chai

Masala Chai Blend Photo
Masala Chai Blend Photo | Source

Masala Chai What It Is?

Like everything Indian, tea has also become diversified since its introduction by the British Merchants. Though this beverage was consumed in India much before the British came, its popularity then was limited.

The British popularised this beverage in order to succeed in another enterprise. So the beverage was introduced in the country on large scale. Then the Indians took over and chai came into the picture. Eventually masala chai came into vogue with addition of tongue tingling spices into the wonder brew.

The spices where like additives that provided many health benefits to the consumer. Later on spices were added not only for their health benefits but for their amazing flavor and aroma as well. Now the spice tea is sold all over the World.

Spiced Chai

Spice Tea Photo
Spice Tea Photo | Source

Chai Leaf in Packets

Premium Chai Tea Packets
Premium Chai Tea Packets

Making a Masala Chai

Masala Chai has won accolades all over the World. The spiced tea as it is also known comes in wide variety of flavors. It is made by adding powdered or mashed spices to the brew whence it is on boil.

There are some ready made spices available in the market. This mix is quite popular with people who do not wish to grind their own stuff. Products like nutmeg and cinnamon are also used. Cloves and pepper are often added to deliver that hot and tangy taste. The spicy brew is made in mind boggling manner in Indian households.

Common additives are:

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Lemon Grass
  • Fruity Flavors
  • Ground Spices
  • Fennel
  • Herbs
  • Masala Mix (Ready Made)


1) Ground ginger into a fine paste.
2) Powder Cardamom & Cinnamon & Black Pepper
3) Take equal mix of milk & water
4) Boil the mix in a container
5) Simmer for some time
6) Add the spices and ginger paste
7) Bring to boil
8) After three minutes strain the brew

Masala Chai is ready. The amount of each ingredient has to be added as per taste.

The brew is brought to boil and the spices are added along with the leaves. Sugar and milk are added to the taste.

For those interested in ready made additives spiced teas are available in Indian markets. Most of these products are economically priced and easily available in retail stores.

Kahwah - How It Is Brewed

Kahwah is a hot beverage prepared by using green tea blends in Kashmir in India. This tea finds popularity in Afghanistan as well.


  • Green Tea Leaves
  • Saffron
  • Almonds
  • Crushed Walnuts
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Honey
  • Sugar


1) Boiled water in a copper vessel
2) Add strands of saffron
3) Add green tea leaves
4) Add aromatic elements powdered form
5) Bring to a boil
6) Add Sugar of Honey
7) Crushed Walnuts & Almonds

In the Kahwah milk is rarely added.

This type of chai tea is usually served after dinner.

Chai Wallahs

Chai Wallahs are roadside vendors who sell large quantity of the brew every day. People love to order or drink the hot beverages prepared by them. These vendors also sell flavoured or spice tea prepared over a burning stove . This concoction has become a trade mark and doorway to huge profits for vendors.

These vendors are found all over in India, they sell the beverage on handcarts parked in one corner of a busy bazaar. The busy markets are their main targets. You will find them supplying many cups of tea throughout the day to business centres in their locality.

Besides these vendors, the hot beverage is also sold in restaurants, cafe, upscale lounges and through the vending machines in India. Tea lounge has become trendy. Many of the outlets serve hot snacks as accompaniment with this wonder brew.

Tea Trends

The recent addition of iced tea has given a new dimension to the way we consume the brew. Instant mix or premix teas have also hit the market. Tea bags are also available in India though the preference is for packet. The bags are consumed mostly by travellers who assiduously stick to one brand.

Gift Baskets have also become popular as festive and heart felt presents. These exotic gift baskets contain packets of premium blends - the finest in India. These wonder gifts suit many occasions like X.Mas, Diwali, New Year, Holi and Birthdays. These are the best presented as corporate gifts.

Tea lounges are making inroads into the up market segment. The serene ambience and the warm cup of the wonder brew sets the ball rolling. These are not just hang outs for the kids but are all occasion places. Execute a profitable business deal or win over your dream girl the brew helps - Waghbakri Rishte Banayein! Cheer!

Chai Cup

Chai Cup Photo
Chai Cup Photo | Source

Dhaba Tea & Recipe

Dhaba Hot Tea & Recipe
Dhaba Hot Tea & Recipe | Source

Tea Cup

Wagh Bakri Masala Chai
Wagh Bakri Masala Chai

The Leaves

The type of leaves most preferred are the CTC (Cut Turned Cured). While street vendors prefer dust tea which is actually leftover of CTC blends. The dust is cheaper hence used by poorer folks. The leaves are graded by their wholeness. Generally Orange Pekoe is of higher grade.

The fanning and dust have their own grades. The tea bags contain broken leaves or dust but of higher quality whole leaves.

For home use black CTC variety should purchased. Fine blends are available as brands while there can be no guarantee of loose tea as far a blending is concerned. Loose leaves are generally cheaper and are available in wholesale.

Sip Tea

A Cup a Day Keeps Cancer Away

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© 2012 Uday Patel


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    Post Comment

    • pateluday profile imageAUTHOR

      Uday Patel 

      4 years ago from Jabalpur, MP, India

      Most Welcome Lee!

    • Lee Tea profile image

      Lee Tea 

      4 years ago from Erie, PA

      I learned much from this article. I usually take Assam tea mixed with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger and then steep it like a regular black tea, then add milk and sugar. I will try bringing the water and milk to a boil first next time. Thank you for this information - voted up and useful.

      Be well,

      Lee @ Lee's Teas

    • pateluday profile imageAUTHOR

      Uday Patel 

      6 years ago from Jabalpur, MP, India

      Thanks Gurpreet!

    • Gurpreet Seehra profile image

      Gurpreet Seehra 

      6 years ago from Chandigarh, India

      hi Patel ji!! A great job at clubbing facts about Chai. It indeed is the staple of Indians. The most favorite beverage.


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