The history of Chai Tea is just as rich as the flavor profile of the exotic spices that tempt and tingle your taste buds. Dating back over 5,000 years, chai tea is said to have been created when a king in India requested a healing spiced beverage be concocted for a traditional medicinal practice for healing.
Today, chai has become a popular choice among tea connoisseurs in the Western world who adore it not only for the variety of interesting spices that give it such unique flavors but also for the innovative health benefits it affords its drinkers.
Luckily the cravings you have for your favorite chai tea can be easily satiated at many of today’s urban tea mongers who offer the delightful dose. From masala blended with green tea to caffeine-free rooibos, and even oolong – chai can be found everywhere from the shelves of your local grocery store to your favorite coffee or tea shop.
But our love for chai doesn’t stop there! Today, chai is often considered a flavor and can be found in a variety of foods including ice cream and other sweet treats, as well as liquors and beers.
Chai's Unique Flavors & Variations
While the different types and flavors of Chai are as numerous and unique as our taste buds, here are some of the most popular variations of chai and a tidbit of insight as to what makes them so unique.
A popular choice at urban coffee shops and tea houses, masala chai is brewed with black tea and a marvelous blend of aromatic warming spices like ground ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and cloves. This delightful combination is blended with milk for the perfect sip.
The aptly branded “dirty chai” takes your favorite chai latte to a whole new level with the addition of an espresso shot. While reminiscent of Turkish coffee with tea, I prefer to keep my tea and coffee separate - please and thank you!
If decaf is your cup of masala chai tea, rooibos chai is the perfect, naturally decaffeinated choice. Made from the South African evergreen shrub known locally as “red bush,” this sweet and spicy tea is praised for its high levels of antioxidants and the vibrant flavor tones of cinnamon, licorice, citrus, and ginger.
Chocolate and chai spices are a match made in tea heaven and you can experience the duo in this decadent delight. Made with or without tea, cacao nibs can fill in for the base of this delicious drink, which is essentially spiced drinking chocolate. Indulge your sweet tooth and engage your senses!
Salted Caramel Chai Latte
Move over pumpkin spice; salted caramel chai is here to stay. The perfect combination of sweet and spicy is enhanced by the savory hint of salt, making it a deliciously good choice for keeping warm during your favorite fall festivities.
Create Your Own Chai Concoction
Indulge your inner tea lover and create your own chai concoction by mixing and matching your favorite spices and flavors for a custom blend. From cinnamon and cardamom to ginger, cloves, and even black peppercorns get creative and enjoy!
Chai is a Worldwide Favorite
It’s no wonder the popularity of chai continues to spread, as it is a beloved cultural staple in India. In fact, it is not uncommon in India for people to drink chai up to 7 times a day. The ritual is so sacred that turning down an offered cup of coveted chai is considered to be offensive to others.
Today, tea enthusiasts are loyal to their favorite chai tea vendors, who compete dutifully to outdo the other with unique combinations of spices and tempting flavors. No matter how you prefer to drink your chai, this popular tea is guaranteed to warm the body, soul, and spirit.
Interested in recipes that celebrate the versatility of chai in cooking and baking? Download our free Chai Recipe Guide by clicking here or on the image below: