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Your Ultimate Guide to Chai Teas : A World of its Own !


  • 22 May 2019

 

India embodies a melting pot of cultures, communities, ethnicities, religions, traditions and so much more! In a constant state of beautiful chaos, this country has a few ‘constants’ which add meaning to the everyday hustle and bustle. One of these elements are Chai Teas or simply known here as ‘Chai’.

Chai is a way of life here! Popularly known in the west as Chai Tea Latte, it can be best defined as the pulse of this vast nation. In a country of more than a billion people, our food, beverages and especially Chai, has profoundly shaped the social ethos of India. Everywhere you look in India, you will be able to spot one of these small tea stalls with a big pot of Chai simmering on the stove. ‘Chai’ holds a national status of being omnipresent in this vast country and an important part of the quintessential Indian hospitality.

 

 

And why not? In addition to India being the second largest exporter of Tea in the world, we also are the largest consumer of the same. Considered to be the nation’s most popular beverage, India consumes more than 30% of the global production. The most popularly consumed form of tea in India is the Chai tea. A warm, soothing concoction of premium Assam black tea simmered with aromatic spices, a dash of milk, and sugar- That’s Chai for us!



This extensive Chai tea blog will answer all your queries and will cover everything :-


  • What is Chai Tea?

  • Components of Chai Teas.

  • How to make the perfect cup of Chai Tea - Recipes

  • Health Benefits of Chai Teas

 

WHAT IS CHAI TEA ?

The word ‘Chai’ means ‘tea’ in the Hindi language, and was derived from the Chinese word “cha” which stands for tea. A traditional cup of Chai tea  has 4 major components - black tea, spices, milk and sweetener. A range of aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, and ginger is used for the brew. Spiced chai tea is brewed with milk and sugar, resulting in a malty, soothing tea latte. The typical ingredients for making a cup of Chai remain the same as above, with little variations depending on regions and cultures.


Typically for making Ch
ai teas, one needs a robust black tea which offers a significantly strong brew even after being simmered with milk, sweetener and the spices. Hence for this reason, the robust Assam CTC black tea is used. We would advise not to delicate teas like Darjeeling Tea, Green Tea, or any other tea type for making a good cup of Chai tea.

Keeping the core components the same, there are various versions of ‘Chai’ across various regions of India. Some which make use of select spices, some which make use of a pinch of salt, while others which add powdered spices. We shall take a look at them in a while.

 

COMPONENTS OF CHAI TEA

 

The Traditional recipe of Chai tea has remained the same, more or less. With a handful of aromatic spices with health-promoting benefits, robust Assam black tea, milk and a sweetener- Chai teas are simple to brew and make for a delicious, comforting cup of tea latte. But first, let’s take a look at the individual components of Chai teas.

 

TEA LEAVES


The base for Chai teas should always be a good-quality black tea. Although a lot of modern recipes use both Assam and Darjeeling black tea for making chai tea latte, the traditional recipe only uses Assam ctc for a discernible flavor. Using any other form of delicate flavored teas will not give you the same spiced flavor.

 

In addition to the signature chai tea mix, our master blenders at Vahdam have also curated several other delectably spiced, in-house chai tea blends like Cardamom Masala Chai, Sweet Cinnamon Masala Chai, Vanilla Spiced Masala Chai, and many more.

 

WHOLE SPICES

The traditional use of spices in Chai tea came from the use of  spices, which not only lent flavorsome spiced notes to the brew but also brought their own health-promoting features to the beverage.

Typically, a traditional cup of Chai Tea includes four basic aromatic spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, and Black Peppercorn.

Depending on the area and the community, there might be some alterations in brewing a cup of Chai tea spiced. For example, some areas also add nutmeg, star anise, fennel, mace or bay leaf.


But more of less the above spices remain as a constant. Each of the above spices have their health-promoting benefits which they bring to a cup of chai tea, in addition to the delectable woody, astringent, sweet or subtly spiced notes - making it an utterly flavorsome yet soothing cuppa.


Here are some of the health benefits of the common spices used in making Chai tea.

Cardamom

 

    
  Known to help in lowering blood pressure.

 

 

Cinnamon


Well-known for its anti-diabetic effects by reducing blood sugar levels.

 


Black Pepper

 
  An anti-inflammatory ingredient, helps in combating pain
  and inflammation.


Ginger

Helps in soothing a sore throat, providing relief in common cold, and in alleviating nausea.

 


Cloves

 

 

Rich in essential nutrients like Vitamins K & C,
Manganese and some fiber.
It also promotes good oral health.

 

Fennel seeds


Help in speeding digestion and

relieving flatulence, gas.

 

Star Anise


 Rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.    

 

Our Blender’s Tip :

If you are using whole spices with black tea to make your own Chai tea mix, we suggest using fresh spices and to let them simmer with the tea on heat for them to efficiently release their flavors and nutrients.

If you aren’t sure about the quantity or variety of spices to be used, we have ready-made spiced chai tea blends which you can easily brew and relish with some sugar and milk!

 

SWEETENER

A perfect cup of chai tea is quite incomplete without a touch of sweetness.
You can use white sugar, brown sugar, honey, or even jaggery to sweeten your cup. Adding a bit of sweetener adds to signature the malty yet robust kick of your chai tea.


MILK

A traditional cup of Chai tea here in India is essentially a spiced tea latte, and we typically use buffalo’s or cow’s milk in the brew. You can choose from any milk or vegan variant that you prefer. Some vegan options would be almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk as well. You can either add a dash of milk to your brewed chai tea liquor or you can add the milk while boiling the chai tea. The milk works in binding all of the different flavors together of the spices, the black tea, and the sugar; homogenizing them and offering the soothing and delicious experience.

 

HOW TO MAKE A PERFECT
CUP OF CHAI TEA?

 

Unlike popular belief, brewing yourself a cup of Chai tea is incredibly simple and doesn’t require much of an effort. There might be two or three ingredients which go into the brewing, but we at Vahdam Teas have made it incredibly easy for you with our skillfully blended chai tea blends which have the perfect combination of premium spices with black tea, all in precise measure.

Not only that but our chai tea spiced blends come in impressive variants to perfectly suit to your likes and moods. From traditional Indian chai tea to exotic variants like the popular Kashmiri Kahwa chai tea, or our best-selling Sweet Cinnamon Chai Tea, we have 16 exquisite chai tea blends for you to choose from! Here are two ways of making a delicious cup of chai tea latte.

 

CHAI TEA RECIPE


Serves : 1

Preparation Time : 5-7 Minutes

Volume : 200 ml (1 cup)


Ingredients

1. Assam CTC Black Tea - 2 grams

2. Fresh water : 120 ml

3. Low fat Milk : 100 ml

4. Sugar : as per taste

5. Green Cardamom : 2-3 cloves

6. Cinnamon : 1/4th of a small stick

7. Ginger : 2 thin, small slices8. Black Pepper : 4-5 granules


Prep :
Using a mortar and pestle, slightly grind the cardamom and black pepper.


Recipe
:-

1. Take a saucepan and fill it with 120 ml of fresh water.
2. Place it on medium heat and bring the water to a boil.
3. Add in the ginger slices, cinnamon, ground cardamom & black pepper mix.

4. Let this spice brew on medium heat for 1 minute.

5. Add in 2 grams of Assam ctc tea to this mix.

6. Let this mixture simmer on medium heat for 1 minute.

7. Now add in the milk to this and the preferred quantity of sugar. Stir well.

8. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.

9. Let your chai tea simmer for 2 minutes.

10. Turn off the heat, strain the chai tea into a cup and Enjoy!

 

If you have too little time on your hand to get these whole spices or if this seems like a little too much work, then we’ve got you covered with our expertly curated spiced chai tea mix with over 16 delectable blends.


Here’s a recipe for spiced chai tea using our best-selling Indian Chai Tea blends which have become the favorite of Oprah Winfrey as well!  

Serves : 1
Preparation Time : 5 Minutes
Volume : 200 ml (1 cup)

 

Ingredients

1. Vahdam’s India’s Original Masala Chai Tea :2 grams (1 Teaspoon)

2. Fresh water : 150 ml

3. Milk : 50 ml

4. Sugar : as per taste


Recipe :-

1. Take a saucepan and bring 150 ml of fresh water to a boil.

2. Add in 2 grams of India’s Original Masala Chai Tea to the boiling water.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and let the brew simmer for 2  minutes.

4. Add the milk to this brew and let it simmer on medium heat for another 2 minutes.

5. To the brewing tea, add in your preferred quantity of sugar.

6. Turn off the heat and strain your chai tea into a cup! Enjoy!

 

Here’s a video of the above recipe if you need a visual guide on how to make the perfect cup of Masala Chai Tea latte.

 

FOR OUR VEGAN CHAI TEA LOVERS

You can brew all our chai tea blends with non-dairy, plant-based milk options as well like Almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk etc. However, keep in mind, when adding almond milk to the brewing chai tea mix, you  will need to keep the heat on the lowest and also stir occasionally. Plant-based milk boiled on high heat will release fat-solids, messing up your cup of tea!

 

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHAI TEAS

Chai teas have evolved over a period of 5000 years, first starting out as a medicinal elixir known as ‘Kadha’. This healing potion was brewed by Vedic sages using Ayurvedic herbs and bountiful spices, each of which had a specific contribution to good health. Owing to the individual benefits of each spice, the type of tea being used, and herbs - Chai teas are undoubtedly a healthier choice of beverage over a cup of coffee.

 

Here are the top 5 health benefits of chai tea that you can reap!

 

1. Boosts Your Immunity

It is a well-known fact that ‘tea’ in general is rich in antioxidants. Black teas consists of a group of Polyphenols which have antioxidant properties. These antioxidants help in boosting your immunity by neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing cell damage in your body. This helps in reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases. Ingredients like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper which are used in Chai teas are also very well known for being rich in antioxidants, thereby making this beverage a super cup of good health!


2. Boosts Heart Health : Reduces Heart Risks

Drinking Chai teas will help in boosting your heart health. Several research studies have pointed out the fact that a class of antioxidants known as ‘Flavonoids’ in black tea help in boosting your heart health by reducing the risk factors which cause heart diseases, like high blood pressure,  high cholesterol, and obesity. [ Source ]

Also, the cinnamon used in brewing chai teas have been known to reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases.


3. Reduces Nausea : Helps during Pregnancy

One of the prime ingredients of spiced chai tea, Ginger, is very well-known to considerably reduce nausea, especially helping during pregnancy. It can also help with seasickness as well. Ginger helps in improving digestion, hence reducing the effects of nausea. In addition to this, the black pepper in chai teas increase the amounts of digestive enzymes in our body, speeding digestion and supporting digestion. Evidently, chai teas speed up the digestion and reduce the effects of nausea.


4. Supports Weight Loss and Weight Management

Studies have proven that individual ingredients in chai tea latte help in promoting weight loss, if the beverage is not sweetened. Firstly, spices like cardamom, black pepper, and ginger help in boosting the body’s metabolism and improves digestion, which in turn supports weight loss efforts.


The milk used in Chai teas, be it cow’s milk or vegan options are a good source of protein. Proteins are good at keeping us satiated and feeling full for longer hours, thereby preventing instances of overeating or unnecessary snacking.

Additionally, a study proved that consuming black tea regularly over a period of time helps in reducing weight gain and also supports better cardiac health.

5. Eases Pain and Inflammation

Chai Teas can also help significantly in easing pain and inflammation, associated with common aches and also severe joint pains. Several ingredients in Chai teas, especially ginger and cloves have well-known anti-inflammatory properties. Having a cup of chai tea helps in increasing the blood circulation in the body, easing inflamed areas in the body. Ginger with such benefits, has been well known to ease common headaches and inflammation. Additionally, cloves used in chai tea help in reducing toothache by being an effective anaesthetic, helping ease swelling in the gums.

 

OPRAH WINFREY LOVES OUR CHAI TEAS TOO!

Boasting of traditional flavors, the choicest of spices sourced from their prime origins, and premium-quality Assam black teas ; our Chai Teas are truly a league apart. Keeping in mind the health-promoting benefits of each individual ingredient, our skillful blenders have curated some delectable Chai tea blends which have caught the fancy of mega media-icon and a global celebrity - Oprah Winfrey!



To fulfill Oprah’s wishes of relishing signature and unique Chai tea blends, our master blenders came together to curate extraordinary blends which will truly captivate your heart too! She took a fancy to 3 of our best-selling Chai tea blends, namely :-

Ginger Masala Chai Tea
Our bold rendition of the Ginger Masala chai with aromatic Indian spices for a warm, spicy kick!

Maharani Oolong Spiced Chai Tea
A prized blend of premium high-fired, tightly-rolled Oolong tea with a myriad of sweet woody spices.

Sweet Cinnamon Masala Chai TeaThe signature flavor of strong Assam tea blended with freshly crushed cinnamon and cardamom.

 

With 16 unique and truly delicious Chai tea blends, we can assure you that a single sip of these teas are enough to make you a Chai tea fanatic!


Here’s to a century old recipe of natural flavors, good health, and wholesome deliciousness!

 

    

 

    Mayuri Ghosh

Editor-in-Chief

Vahdam Teas

Connect at : mayuri@vahdamteas.in