Masala Chai

Masala Chai is a delicious tea made from a blend of spices and milk that originates from India. It is very popular here and is served almost everywhere. Gradually, it has made its way to Western countries where it can be enjoyed in tea shops or prepared at home.

What it is and what it consists of

Masala Chai has been prepared in India since 9000 years ago. It was drunk by rich and poor alike and became a very popular drink, prepared in the summer heat and in the cold of winter.

It consists of good quality black tea, a mixture of spices, milk and sugar.

It contains cloves, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper, fennel and whole milk.

For Masala Chai you need a good quality loose leaf tea. It is not recommended to use tea from a bag, which is not as good as loose tea. Masala Chai blends are also sold pre-granulated or ground, but these are not as good as Masala Chai blended from whole spices according to your own recipe. It is best enjoyed in home conditions, when you have the time to devote yourself fully to the tea and its preparation.

Different places, different recipes

Different regions in India mix tea with different spices. However, the base is cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Other spices you can try adding to tea are nutmeg, allspice, coriander, orange peel, liquorice, cumin, turmeric, saffron, chilli or almond or rose flavouring. It is the blend of spices that distinguishes it from ordinary loose-leaf tea.

Initially, tea was mixed only from spices, but in the 18th century, when the British imported the tea plant originally from China to India, tea leaves began to be added to it, adding new dimensions to its flavour. People in some areas of India, such as Kashmir, add green tea instead of black tea.

Always with milk

Masala Chai includes warm milk at the end. In the country of origin of this tea, this is mostly buffalo milk, but cow’s milk also works well. It should definitely be full-fat to make the drink both delicious and hearty.

Masala Chai is drunk heavily sweetened, with white sugar, cane sugar or honey. You can also use maple syrup or other syrups to achieve a whole new shade of flavor in this amazingly delicious drink. In some parts of India it is customary to salt the tea. This is not uncommon in the southern countries; for example, the yoghurt drink ajran is also salted.

In hot weather, salt is quickly washed out of the body, so this is very practical.

For Masala Chai, other names such as Yogi tea or Indian spiced tea have also taken hold in our country. However, these are other variations of the same drink.

How to drink it

First, make a mixture of spices. The base is ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. To this  you can add the other types mentioned above that you like. In  India, each region and each family has its own unique recipe, suiting the taste of their members.

If you don’t know, start, with the basic spices and gradually try adding more.

First, mix and boil the spices in hot water for at least 10 minutes. It can also be ground, but whole is better, as ground would not ferment well. When you have a nice fragrant infusion, add the tea leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Then strain and add the warmed whole milk with sugar.

Pour into clear glasses or ceramic mugs with rustic look to fully enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.

Health Benefits

Masala Chai is not only very good, but drinking it regularly also has many health benefits. It consists of black tea which is itself very healthy. It restores energy, is full of antioxidants and boosts blood circulation.

It is effective for colds and fever, but also regulates digestion, as does the ginger that is contained in it.

Chilli is an ideal helper in burning fat, speeding up metabolism, warming and lowering cholesterol levels.

Licorice is also added to Masala Chai, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is very beneficial in dieting. It benefits the heart and blood vessels and strengthens the immune system. It helps with sleep disorders and is calming.

Turmeric is a great help in illnesses and is also very popular in a drink called Golden Milk, which is very beneficial for health. The combination of turmeric and milk along with tea and spices is a medicinal bomb against diseases. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a natural antibiotic.

It kills parasites, strengthens the liver and removes toxins from the body.

The effects of different spices do not beat each other, on the contrary, they complement each other perfectly and their healing abilities are thus loaded. Every Indian enjoys a cup of hot Masala Chai in the morning and you can have it too, as a healthy start to the day.