Chai is: spices + black tea + milk + sugar + water
People love to love chai. After my month in India I experienced chai in the north and the south, mostly made fresh, but also sometimes from instant powder (on an flight).
What are the spices in chai?
Cardamom is primary. Then cloves and cinnamon (the bark in the photo). Ginger is an optional addition too.
Each person makes chai in their own way with different ratios, resulting in a great range of flavors.
What is the tea in chai?
It’s black tea, produced domestically in India. Generally CTC-grade (crush, tear, curl) tea which simply means the tea that has gone through a process to shred it and make it into graduals resulting in a very inexpressive and very dark, strong brew.
How do I make chai?
Get the best quality spices you can. Break them up with a mortar and pestle. Get a dusty black tea and sugar. Experiment with ratios. Throw it all together with mostly milk and a splash of water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes. Strain and enjoy.