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MASALA CHAI: how to make chai latte and stove top chai

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS CHAI?

Chai literally means tea, in several languages - and pronounced cha in several others. However in most western contexts, chai refers to masala chai - an Indian beverage consisting of black tea, spices, milk and sugar. It varies from region to region and household to household, but is generally milky, sweet and spiced to some degree (the region will determine which herbs and spices are used). Other common phrases are chai latte and chai tea - they generally all refer to the same thing; a spiced milky beverage.


WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE IT?

A teapot, an infuser (preferably a deep one), and a way to heat milk (stove top, milk steamer, microwave). Also, you’ll need your chosen chai mix, and a sweetener (check to see if your chai isn’t already already sweetened). Also, it doesn’t matter what milk you use - just the one that you like.



WHAT MAKES A GOOD CHAI LATTE?

Strength of the brew and water to milk ratio will determine how good your chai is. The chai should be made strong, and the should be at least 50/50 water to milk. The higher the milk ratio, the creamier your latte will be.



Masala chai latte served with milk
Masala chai is best served hot, sweet and creamy

SO, HOW DO I MAKE MASALA CHAI?

Quantities may vary depending on teapot size and strength desired, but let’s say the average teapot is about 400ml to 500ml. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of your chosen chai mix into the infuser and add boiling water - but not too much! At most you want the teapot to be filled halfway with boiling water. Let the chai steep for about 3 minutes. Whilst this is happening, heat up some milk (whatever milk you like - soy, oat, just whichever milk you prefer). After 3 minutes, remove the infuser - what you have is a very strong brew. Now add the hot milk, and sweeten with honey or sugar to your taste.


Our Masala Chai blend makes the perfect chai latte - a spicy blend of ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, black tea, clove and coconut sugar.



WHAT'S "STOVE TOP CHAI" THEN?

Stove Top Chai refers to a more traditional brew method. You’ll need: a big saucepan, a stove top, spice mix and black tea - not blended together but seperate, and your milk and sweetener of choice.


Our Chai Yoga and Organic EBT are perfect for this method.


Half fill your big saucepan with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low heat. Add your Chai Yoga (spice mix), and let brew for about half an hour. Or an hour. Or longer? It’s really up to you - but know that the longer you brew your spices, the spicier it will be. Add peppercorn, add nutmeg, add vanilla - add whatever you want. Again - the longer you brew it, the spicier it will be. Next, add your Organic EBT (black tea) and let it brew for anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes - the longer you brew the tea leaves, the darker and more astringent the chai will be. Once you’ve brewed the black tea for your desired length, add your milk. Your water level may have reduced over time, but you want to add enough milk so at the very least it’s half milk and half water. The more milk, the creamier it’ll be. And the milk will stop the tea and spices infusing, evening out the intensity of flavour. Taste it! It probably needs sweetening. Sugar, honey, or the traditional condensed milk are all good options. Taste it again - sweet, spicy and delicious is what you’re going for.


hand blended masala spices
All of our chai blends are blended by hand - the way it should be!

SO - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Firstly, time: a chai latte takes about three to five minutes, and stove top chai can take anywhere upwards of half an hour. But secondly, flavour: the longer stove top method really packs a wallop of flavour. I think if you’re into chai, you should at the very least TRY to make stovetop chai - not only for its massive flavour, but for the respect the origins of masala chai deserve - Masala Chai as been described as an act of rebellion by the Indian people against British exploitation and colonisation. Low grade black tea was marketed and sold to the Inidan population at an unfair price - adding spices, milk and sugar not only kept costs down, it tasted amazing. It was even banned by the British colonial authorities - but its popularity trumped any attempts to quell it. Brewing spices already had such a long history in India, with the Ayurvedic medicinal tradition stretching back over 9000 years.





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