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A Taste of India with Chai Tea

Aug 17, 2007
Chai is what tea is called in India and other middle Eastern countries, most notably Turkey. Chai tea, often also called massala chai, is what middle Eastern citizens will tell you tea is all about. Brewed in a very characteristic way, which is actually miles from what a typical English tea will look and taste like, chai tea is gaining more and more popularity as Indian, Turkish, and other middle Eastern cultures gain wider interest and appreciation around the world.

Chai tea is usually prepared using tea with a strong, full-bodied flavor, milk, sugar, and a good dose of spices. Black tea, usually from Indian varieties themselves like Assam tea, is used because of the potency of its body and taste, which is somewhat needed in a beverage where it might be obliterated by the other elements. Milk or any other cream substitute is used to 'whiten' it and soften the taste of the tea infusion. Sugar is added in often copious doses, since chai tea is also known for its very sweet taste. A variety of spices are also used to further add to the body of the tea.

These chai tea spices vary very much between areas, though the commonly used are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorns, cloves, and nutmeg. Saffron may also be used. Some spice blends are available as chai massala, massala being the name given to a spice mix in the Indian tongue.

There is no fixed recipe or proportion or list of constituents for chai tea. It is a beverage which is customized and created differently on every stove top. There is a wide range then in the actual taste of the chai. Only the method of preparation is somewhat similar all over, in that water is boiled with the spices, tea is added and allowed to release its flavor and taste, though not too long to prevent the bitter and acrid taste of over-infused tea to color the brew. Milk or creamer is then added, full-fat whole milk being the preferred choice. Sugar or whatever is being used as sweetener, such as honey and jaggery, is added last. In some versions, the tea is what is added last and allowed to steep.

The Kashmiri version of chai tea is somewhat different from what is otherwise available under this name. It is made using green tea, and is brewed using almonds, saffron, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom.
About the Author
Mayoor Patel is the writer for the website http://specialty-tea.tea-universe.com. Please visit for information on all things concerned with Chai Tea
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