You are in line at your local coffee shop and thinking about the chai latte. I know this because I frequent coffee shops often! If I am not at an actual tea house, I look at the section of the menu that reads chai latte. Something warm and inviting about chai usually hits the right spot. Would it surprise you the word “chai” itself means “tea”? When I heard that, it certainly was a surprise. So, what is chai?
More About This Tea Style
If you are at your local coffee shop, you may order your usual chai latte and enjoy the fantastic spice that warms you up or is a delicious addition to the day combined with cold milk. Chai is the Hindi word for tea. Funny enough, when you say you are drinking chai tea, you are saying you are enjoying “tea tea.” One of, if not the most popular, types of this style of tea is masala, which means spiced. In India, masala chai is so famous that they call it chai. There is some lore behind this excellent tea you should check out! A common preparation is to combine tea with milk. I usually brew mine and add a little bit of cream and honey.
What Goes Into Chai?
As important to knowing what is chai, is learning about what ingredients can go into chai blends.The way I started drinking this tea blend was the masala variety. Many of these blends include some black tea with various spices. These may include cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice, cardamom, fennel, black pepper, and more. Over the years, I have experienced spiced tea blends with more unique ingredients, such as turmeric, rose petals, and smoked black pepper. You can check out my review of that blend here! These add a little twist to the experience, which I enjoy. As I have moved along in my tea journey, I have come to love the unique blends and how they differ, hot or cold. I focus on how they hit my senses. The addition of spices, combined with black tea, is how masala chai differentiates itself from others.
Is There A Certain Type You Should Try?
Have you enjoyed a chai latte? You have already dipped into this tea style. Many of these lattes out there are of the masala variety and include a pre-made concentrate, a liquid that you mix with your choice of hot or cold milk. I recommend trying different chai varieties at tea houses or coffee shops. Be sure to smell the blends and ask about the ingredients. Scoping out blends you are looking to try can be crucial in case a mix is heavy on ginger; it may not go well as a latte! Don’t be afraid of unusual spices in the blend. Think of it as a new experience. The first time I had a spiced chai blend with turmeric and smoked pepper, I thought I would hate it. The combination added depth to the flavor, which I loved. There are many loose and bagged varieties out there.
If you are trying unique blends in the future, leave me a comment below! I hope you can now answer with a bit more confidence, what is chai!