One of our more popular tea blends is loose leaf masala chai. It really is a fantastic tea blend, and a very versatile one too!
We get a lot of questions from tentative customers around this tea blend with its reputation of being a ‘spicy’ tea. Let us answer some of your most frequently asked questions and put your worries at ease so that you can enlighten yourself with this fantastic tea!
What is masala chai?
Masala chai is an Indian inspired tea that blends black tea leaves with a masala spice mix that includes cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, and more.
It is a drink that has roots that stretch back over thousands of years, and a history that involves Indian kings and working-class citizens alike.
The name masala chai is a direct translation for spiced tea, where masala means spice and chai means tea. That’s why it’s funny when you see the western world refer to chai tea – this means tea tea!
In India today, chai is used to refer to specifically black tea that is drunk with milk and sugar, and masala chai is a chai that is mixed with spices.
At LEAF Tea Shop, our version of masala chai is an aromatic black loose leaf tea blend that can be made with either water or hot milk.
What is masala chai made of?
Masala chai is made of black tea and a mix of spices, traditionally brewed with a combination of water, hot milk, and sugar for a fragrant, sweet, and spicy tea drink.
For the tea, any quality leaves can be used. We have plenty of different high-quality loose leaf black teas to choose from, and for our masala chai blend we have picked a winner. If you want to make your own, assam and Darjeeling make good options.
The spices are where you can really personalise your masala chai to your own tastes. Spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves are the traditional base, but you can add almost any spice you may find in your pantry if you wish! Other popular inclusions are:
- Bay leaves
The opportunities are endless!
Our masala chai blend takes inspiration from authentic Indian chai varieties and includes cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger root, chilli, and red peppercorns for a stimulating but not overpowering taste.
What does masala chai taste like?
Every masala chai uses a different spice mix and so will taste different. Common ingredients mean that the tea will taste bold and warm, with a sweet taste too that goes hand in hand with the gentle spice.
How you choose to drink your masala chai will also influence the taste. Of course, you can be a purist and drink it with just boiling water like any other black tea. Or, add hot milk and turn your tea into a chai latte for an indulgent beverage.
With a taste as complex and special as chai masala, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the spice mix can serve as a flavour base in many other recipes. So, if you make your own mix, make spare so that you can use it in your baking!
Is masala chai good for you?
Masala chai has many purported health benefits, in part due to the black tea leaves and in part due to the combination of ingredients found in the spice mix.
The health benefits of loose leaf tea are well researched. Black tea from the camellia sinensis plant is high in anti-oxidants which are beneficial for supporting the body in combating free radicals.
Many of the spices used have health benefits, too, such as boosting your immune system, reducing inflammation, and improving your digestion.
Our tea blend uses ginger root, cinnamon, and cloves, as well as black loose tea. These ingredients are powerful holistic healers, and are great to add to your diet whether through your food or through an infused tea drink such as masala chai.
What’s the difference between chai and masala chai?
Masala chai translates to spiced tea and is made of black tea, milk, and spices. Chai on its own simply translates to black tea and milk – no spices.
Chai lattes (chai teas) have become incredibly popular in the west, with recipes that can be enjoyed hot or cold. How truthful they are to Indian chai is up for debate, with some high-street brands using ingredients that would definitely not be found anywhere near a chaiwala’s stall.
But across India, chai and masala chai remain incredibly popular drinks, enjoyed by folks from all walks of life.
Masala chai at LEAF Tea Shop
We are incredibly proud of our masala chai blend here at LEAF Tea Shop! If you are excited to try a new beverage, definitely give this one a try!
If you are still hesitant, why not add a two-cup taster to your next order? That way you can try it out without committing to a full-sized cup.