How to Create Your Own Masala Chai Tea

Updated on December 2, 2018
Maggie Bonham profile image

Maggie Bonham is an award-winning author and editor. She is also the author of more than 35 books as well as thousands of articles.

5 stars from 1 rating of Masala Chai Tea

If you're a tea drinker, chances are you love chai tea and its various blends. But you may be thinking that you could make your own chai tea for a fraction of the cost of some of those more expensive chai teas. And you'd be right.

A friend of mine in New York City made homemade masala chai for me because she was stunned by the cost she saw at the stores. Recently, I've been drinking a lot of chai, and I decided to blend my own. Here is a recipe I've concocted that I hope you will enjoy.

What is Chai Tea, Exactly?

Chai, or masala chai, is a type of spiced tea. "Chai" actually means just "tea," so if we say "chai tea," we're actually saying "tea tea." Masala means spiced. So masala chai is "spiced tea."

Masala chai originated in India. In 1806, the British had brought tea from China to Assam, India, in order to cultivate it. Tea was primarily exported to Britain and was expensive to those living in India. However, the British-owned Indian Tea Association recognized a market in the early 1900s in India and promoted tea drinking. Tea was still costly, so the Indians diluted the tea with milk and added spices to make up for the less robust flavor. Thus, masala chai was invented out of necessity. But, it became very popular among Indians.

By the 1960s, tea production became mechanized, lowering the costs. Masala chai became even more popular in India because of the wonderful taste and the relatively inexpensive cost. Today, India still drinks most of the tea it produces; more than 70 percent of the tea that is grown stays in the country.

Basic Chai Recipe

Basic masala chai has only six ingredients other than water and milk: black tea, ginger, cinnamon, black peppercorns, fennel, and cardamom. This basic chai version you can make again and again without worry. That being said, you can also add "flavors" to your chai tea to make it taste the way you prefer. Add sugar, if you'd like. You'll find it so easy, inexpensive, and taste better than what you can get in a mix, you may just make your own chai all the time.

The amount of the recipe is for one serving plus, but you can double it or more for more cups. You may have to adjust the spices to suit your own taste, but the recipe is a start. You may add milk and sugar, if you prefer, or drink it without either. Both ways are perfectly acceptable.

Recommended Tea

Adagio Teas Assam Melody Loose Black Tea, 16 oz.
Adagio Teas Assam Melody Loose Black Tea, 16 oz.

One Assam tea I highly recommend is a tea by Adagio. They go directly to the source to buy their tea, meaning that the farmers directly benefit. This tea tastes great, too!

 

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 6 min
Yields: 1 + Serving

Ingredients for 1 + Serving of Chai

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp Assam or other Indian tea, can be increased to 2 tsp
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk, optional
  • 1-2 tsps sugar, to taste, optional

Other Optional Ingredients

There are many versions of chai tea. Some are flavored. You can add any (or all) of the following ingredients to make the chai tea your own.

  • 1-3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 star anise, broken into pieces
  • 3-5 coriander seeds
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, broken into pieces (not ground)
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa nibs (for chocolate chai)
  • 2 inches of vanilla bean (for vanilla chai)

Instructions for Brewing Chai

  1. Add all ingredients, except milk and sugar, in a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove.
  2. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tea is brewed to your preference.
  3. Strain into a mug. Add milk and sugar to taste, if desired. Enjoy!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Maggie Bonham

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      • Maggie Bonham profile imageAUTHOR

        Maggie Bonham 

        6 weeks ago from Missoula, Montana

        Awesome! Glad I can help!

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Thanks for telling us what ingredients go into the making of Chai tea. It would be easy to make at home and the ingredients could be varied to suit one's taste.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        6 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

        I like drinking tea, but never tried any of these teas. They sound nice though.

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