Spiced Chai Tea Latte

Dec 27, 2011 by

Growing up, I never understood the fascination of spiced tea. Whilst I enjoy a ‘good cuppa tea’ as well as spice in my every bite, I could never fathom why one would combine the two experiences. Recent years have seen the rise of the ‘chai’. Becoming a quintessential choice of beverage for some and yoga personified for others, chai has challenged this coffee drinking nation.

To get the skinny on this spiced tea, or rather, masala chai, I turned to my trusted source for all things Indian – my nanima (plump and cute granny with a wise smile). Whether masala chai was being consumed out of fad or taste, what she revealed to me made me aware of its essential qualities and purpose. Originating in North India, this drink is infused with ginger, spices, milk and lots of sugar helping the body ramp up to deal with those cold winter days. Like mulled wine, masala chai has an aromatic presence, but steeping those spices and ginger provide an even great benefit: to insulate the body.

Of course, this was a great incentive to try a drink I rejected as a 6 year old. Fit for a breakfast beverage or an afternoon snack, chai will leave you feeling satiated and ready to face the storm. It also taught me a personal lesson: Never let a 6 year old determine the taste of a grown adult.

With my new favorite beverage at hand, I experiment with spices all the time. The classic Indian way is to use cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. However, there is nothing stopping you from using star anise, all spice, nutmeg or even a piece of lemongrass.


serves 4

4 cups of water
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 medium stick of cinnamon
5 cloves
1″ piece of ginger
4 cardamom pods (with shell)
4 tea bags
1/2 a cup of hot milk
honey/ sugar to taste


1) Bring the water to a boil, add all the spices and ginger and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes
2) Add the tea bags and simmer for another 4 minutes
3) Add hot milk remove from heat after 2 minutes
4) Strain and serve
5) Add sugar or honey to taste

Pearls of Wisdom

Add a little more sugar than you may be accustomed to with regular tea or else the spices and ginger may impart a bitter taste

Serving suggestions

Since this is a little heavier than other teas as it requires more milk, it makes for a perfect stand alone drink. For those that have the munchies, serve yourself a simple little cookie.

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  1. Irit K

    Your Chai brings to mind a cold, very cold January morning in a Delhi jewelry factory in Gautam Nagar. I was sitting on the frozen basement floor, on a paper thin mat, bare footed with twenty talented Bengali jewelers and sipping a homemade Chai from a tiny clay cup. This was a heart warming, bone thawing Chai. The best I have ever tasted. The Chai Walla kept offering one cup after the other, meanwhile, chucking each of the used clay cups into a bucket with enough force to break them noisily into small bits. The taste of Bengali Chai, in Bengali unglazed reddish clay cups is still lingering in my mind.. Thank you for evoking and bringing back this delicious memory.



    • Chai Tea Mix Recipe — My Own Ideas Nov 3, 2010 Lightly Spiced Chai Tea Mix Follow the recipe above, only use half of the giegnr , cinnamon,

  2. Lucid Food

    This sounds delicious. I can't wait to make it when I'm back (from traveling) in my own kitchen, with all my spices at hand. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Anonymous

    This reminds me of the tea I used to drink in the temple…. And Hampton chutney! I love it


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