by Emeric Harney September 21, 2022 5 min read
September 21 is National Chai Day, a perfect time to talk about the warm and spicy goodness of this delicious tea in a category all its own. Cheers to chai, beloved by the entire country of India and now popular around the world.
What Is Chai?
The name “chai” is the Hindi word for “tea.” It was derived from “cha,” the Chinese word for “tea.” “Masala chai” means “spiced tea,” which is what “chai” has become synonymous with – a tea brewed with milk, sugar, and warming spices. The recipes vary by region and personal preference. Traditionally, chai is a black tea mixed with strong spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and black peppercorns. When people say “chai,” they are generally referring to “masala chai.” To say “chai tea” literally translates to “tea tea,” so try not to say that.
Chai is basically the national drink of India, with most citizens consuming three to four cups daily from morning to night. Chaiwalas (or chaiwallahs, either spelling meaning “tea person”), are everywhere in India. They prepare, sell and serve chai from corner stands and small shops. In India, chaiwalas and others generally prepare chai from scratch with fresh
Here in the U.S., we generally prepare chai with a pre-made blend of black tea and spices. Harney offers several chai teas:
Let’s Have Some Chai
Brewing chai is no different than brewing other teas unless you choose to make it with all fresh ingredients instead of using a chai-blended tea. You can use milk if you wish (your favorite kind will work just fine) and add the sweetener of your choice (or don’t!). Or you can use a combination of milk and water to steep your chai leaves. If you prefer an iced chai, steep your tea in hot water but don’t heat the milk and pour it all over ice.
Chai lattes, both hot and cold, have gained in popularity throughout the U.S. If you order a “dirty chai” when you’re out, it means they’ve added a shot of espresso to your tea. Hence, the very appropriate name!
If you haven’t seen it already, check out our recent Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte recipe. To further expand your chai horizons, try out these recipes! We’ve shared them before, but they’re so good they’re worth repeating!
A great twist on a classic cookie.
We all love a good cuppa with a slice of pumpkin pie in the fall -- but what if you could incorporate the spicy goodness of chai tea right into the pie itself?
If you’re already a chai fan, we hope you discovered a new fact or recipe to help you celebrate National Chai Day. If you weren’t a chai fan before, we hope we’ve piqued your interest and will try this unique and wildly popular beverage. Sitting down with a cup could become the chai-light of your day!
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