We had been aware of all the hype about Chai in recent years, but in our minds it was a Starbucks business idea and hipster BS, so we never really got into the whole vibe. Only recently have we started to make an effort in trying to find the best Chais or masala teas (masala means spiced and chai means tea in Hindi and originates from the Persian Chay, which originated from the Chinese word Chá) in London.
Chai is basically a black tea with milk (and usually vast amounts of sugar) that is infused with pretty much any combination of ‘Indian’ flavours such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anis, ground ginger, whole peppers, fennel seeds, and crushed dried chilli peppers, you name it. Our favourite combination just involves the first four of them, sometimes we add nutmeg, turmeric, vanilla, cumin or caraway.
Especially now, with X-mas approaching rapidly, it’s such a bliss to smell these smells, cinnamon in particular… oh, and the taste…
You can also combine the mix with green or white tea. We particularly like to use it with green tea, in order to avoid a caffeine overkill.
Initially Chai was a medicine not a recreational drink and derived from ancient Ayurvedic medical scripts.