How to make Chai Tea

Making chai tea is becoming a very popular way of drinking tea in North America, though it’s certainly not new in many other places on the planet. The term “chai” really just means “tea”, and for many people, this spiced form of tea is the normal way to drink it. Anyone who doesn’t care for plain tea might give it a shot. Originally from India, chai can be made from any kind of tea (usually black, not green tea) and there is no one constant recipe. Different regions have their preferences, and people make adjustments to suit their tastes when making chai.

So what do you use when making chai? As mentioned, the tea itself is usually black though you can easily make chai from green tea for a different taste. After that, there is a long list of potential spices and seasonings that are used in chai. Some of the more common ones include:

  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • coconut
  • nutmeg
  • peppercorns
  • cardamom
  • allspice
  • fennel
  • almonds
  • heavy cream
  • brown sugar

The trick with making chai is to get the right proportions of each spice to make a good cup without overdoing it. Most people who are new to chai just add a dash of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to their tea and start with that. When it comes to making chai, the process can differ depending on culture and custom. In some places, people will simmer all the ingredients together (even the milk) to make tea, and sometimes the additional spices are added after the tea itself is brewed. In that case, any milk is usually added after as well. A pot of tea that is steeping with whole cloves, pieces of ginger root, cinnamon sticks or fennel seeds will taker longer than a pot of tea that is just tea leaves. Make sure you let your mix of spices steep long enough to get a strongly flavored cup. If brewing up some chai from scratch isn’t your thing, you can always just buy it. Many tea sellers offer both tea bags and loose tea that includes their mixes of spices for making chai. Then you just have to steep it like any other kind of tea for a spicy treat. Tazo, Celestial Seasonings, and Stash are just a few that immediately come to mind. Even more mainstream tea companies like Tetley have a chai or two.

You can also buy chai in K-cups. Timothy’s and Gloria Jean’s both make a fine chai, and Bigelow has an unusual green tea chai. For Tassimo machines, Twinings makes a chai tea latte T-disc. If you use a machine that takes the flat generic pods, you can get chai by Melitta, Organa, or Solera.

For those who don’t like tea, you can always enjoy these spicy combinations with coffee instead. It’s usually just called “spiced coffee” that way, but it can be just as delicious.

Miss Ellie's Tea RoomLoose Leaf Tea