Masala Chai Tea: easy guide, top 10 best teas

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What is Masala Chai tea?

Masala Chai tea, native to India and loved around the world, isn’t defined by a specific variety of tea leaf, a particular cultivation or processing technique, or even a preferred method of consumption. It is only tied to the refreshing fragrance and flavor of tea leaves, and the warming aroma of herbs and spices. In fact, that is what ‘Masala Chai’ translates to – ‘spiced tea’. A fragrant, invigorating blend of tea (traditionally Assam tea) and spices including cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, it is consumed in practically every Indian household and has built a fan base in other parts of the world as well.

A cultural constant

In India – the land of Ayurveda – spiced tea historically held the position of an herbal medicine. Tea plants grew wild in the northeastern hills of India (Assam, Darjeeling, etc.). In the 19th century, the British East India Company noticed the region’s potential for tea cultivation. Over the following decades, tea (and black tea in particular) evolved into a daily beverage for Indian families. Since then, it has rooted itself in popular culture and lent itself to a variety of spiced, milk-based preparations.

Delightful variants!

Traditionally, Masala Chai tea was prepared by boiling loose Assam tea leaves, green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground ginger, cloves and black peppercorn with substantial amounts of milk. Besides the usual black tea bases (Assam, Niligiri, and Ceylon tea), one can now find Masala Chai variants made with green tea or caffeine-free rooibos. Ever since it found a global audience, Masala Chai has also broadened its horizons by lending itself to new floral additives, such as rose petals and jasmine or lavender blossoms. Tea brands and sellers around the world package their special Masala Chais as dry loose leaf blends, tea bags, and even instant mix powders and concentrates.

Tasting notes

Masala Chai’s caffeine-rich black tea base, together with its spices and herbs, results in a warming, invigorating, “fairly potent” and “full bodied” brew. The decoction method of preparation (boiling the chai with a generous amount of milk) makes a “spicy yet smooth” cup, “perfect for chilly winter mornings”. If your batch of Masala Chai has an Assam tea base, you can expect a “hazy amber liquor” with a “malty” taste and a “spicy kick in the back of the throat after each swallow”. The aroma of spices often stand out when dry, but get more “balanced” once you steep the tea. Considered “wonderfully strong” by high caffeine tea drinkers, this is a “good pick-me-up” for cold mornings or slow afternoons. Those who prefer a more subtle sip, however, can find the flavor “too intense”.

Tea tips

Masala Chai is best enjoyed with milk and sugar, the smoothness of the former and the sweetness of the latter complementing the strong tea base and aromatic spices well. If you’d rather not use milk, steep it for about 5 minutes in boiling water. It is important to note, however, that every batch of Masala Chai has its own unique composition of ingredients, and as such, its own prescribed steeping instructions. To preserve the flavor of your Masala Chai, make sure you store it in an airtight container.

10 best Masala Chai teas to buy online

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Tulsi Basil Organic Masala Chai

Tulsi Basil Organic Masala Chai

Bringing together the best of India, Masala chai tea and the healing tulsi holy basil herb, this organic chai blend is empowering and stimulating. A unique combination of organic assam black tea, tulsi, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, black pepper, long pepper, bay leaves and nutmeg blended in ...

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Tulsi Green Chai

Tulsi Green Chai

Like a medieval gruit; strong yet embracing. This organic blend is one of the first products aimed at combining the health benefits of green tea with Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves. A potpourri of flavors, this tea has classic features and goodness of a masala chai. It's wellness in a cup. Note: CTC ...

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Stash Chai Green Green Tea Bags, 20 count

Stash Chai Green Green Tea Bags, 20 count

Case of six boxes each containing 20 tea bags (total of 120 tea bags) Modern twist to traditional Chai by blending Chinese green tea with chai spices creating a flavorful and spicy tea Kof-K Kosher Certified; Contains Caffeine Kof-K Kosher certified, contains caffeine, ships in ...

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Coconut Crush Chai

Coconut Crush Chai

Rooibos , ginger root, cinnamon, shredded coconut, ginger coconut and vanilla flavoringSimilarly, check out our Red Hot. Blender's Notes:Enjoy a blissful crush on coconut from our creative twist on traditional chai. This craft blend brings together the beauty and warmth of South African Rooibos ...

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Red Hot Chai

Red Hot Chai

Rooibos, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla flavoringSimilarly, check out our Harvest Spice tea & Mile High Chai.. This strong spiced chai kicks the cold away with the season's boldest flavors: red rooibos, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, chai spices and a kiss of vanilla come together in this complex ...

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Masala Chai (Golden Moon Tea)

Masala Chai (Golden Moon Tea)

Organic Black Tea, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Cardamom Pods, Organic Clove Buds, Organic Pepper. a traditional Indian recipe that is spicy, sweet, full-flavored and complex

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Green Tea Chai

Green Tea Chai

A superior blend of fresh green tea from Darjeeling blended with choicest Indian spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove & Black Peppercorns. Discover a smooth fulfilling aroma of fresh greens with delicious undertones of raw spices in every sip. The liquor is bright green with an energizing aroma. A ...

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Chocolate Chai

Chocolate Chai

Black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, cocoa nibs inclusion loose, natural cinnamon flavor and natural chocolate flavor. We've taken one of the world's favorite indulgences - chocolate - and combined it with the exotic flavors and spices of Masala Chai to create the ultimate treat. Chocolate ...

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Thai Chai

Thai Chai

Black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, dried coconut, cardamom inclusion loose, lemon grass and natural coconut flavor. Creamy sweet coconut and playfully floral lemongrass highlight this succulent black tea chai blend. Let the aroma draw you in and you'll swear, you hear it beckoning to come ...

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Stash Tea Ginger Fire Chai

Stash Tea Ginger Fire Chai

We've turned up the heat a notch in this chai blend of fiery ginger, spicy-sweet yerba mate and cinnamon. With a kick of ginger that builds with each sip, balanced with a subtle sweet aftertaste of natural vanilla, this tea is sure to warm you up from the inside-out. Enjoy plain or with milk and ...

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