Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Chai

Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Chai

BREWING THE PERFECT CUP OF CHAI

‘Chai’ is actually the Hindi term for tea derived from the Chinese term ‘Cha’. Chai in India is a mix of spices steeped in normal tea, which is mostly black tea with some milk and sugar added to it. There are many variations of chai that differ from one another across countries and regions. However, typically the spices that go into a chai preparation are cardamom, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns. Usually the best tea to use for chai is one with a stronger flavour, such as Munnar tea.

Chai can be prepared in many ways and drunk hot or even cold. There is no right or wrong in brewing a good cup of chai and it depends entirely on your preference. However, some basic guidelines you can follow are:

TRADITIONAL CHAI BREWING METHOD

   a. Measure the amount of tea you want depending on how strong you want the tea flavour to be. The general rule of thumb for this is 2 grams of tea leaves for every cup of water. If you want to use tea bags, then one should suffice.

   b. Bring the water to boiling temperature and then add the tea leaves to it

   c. Steep the tea for about five minutes

   d. Add milk and sugar (or any sweetener) to taste

   e. Pour the tea and strain the leaves or remove the tea bag

There are many premium chai brands available in grocery stores, and even online on local tea shop sites. The perfect cup of chai seems easy enough to make, but for a good experience, you want to make sure that the ingredients are of good quality. For a good cup of chai, knowing where your ingredients come from is very useful. For example, black teas from China have a very different taste than black Munnar tea from India. For a good cup of chai, it is better to use CTC chai blends from Indian regions.

TRADITIONAL MASALA CHAI RECIPE

INGREDIENT

AMOUNT

Ginger

I teaspoon

Cinnamon Sticks

2

Black Peppercorns

2 teaspoons

Cloves

10

Cardamom

6 pods

Black Tea or Tea Leaves

6 Bags or 3 tablespoons

Milk

2 cups

Sugar

To taste


 METHOD

   • Combine ginger, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cloves and cardamom in a medium saucepan and lightly bruise them using a mallet

   • Bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the spices

   • Bring heat to medium-low, cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes

   • Remove the spices from the heat and add tea bags to steep for 5 minutes

   • Add milk and sugar and simmer over high heat till sugar dissolves

   • Strain tea and serve hot. 

THE THREE MOST COMMON QUERIES ABOUT CHAI

Is Indian chai made with milk or water?

Answer: Although you can use either, chai is generally steeped in water with milk added to the end. 

How long do you steep your chai for?

Answer:  Usually the steeping time is five minutes but you can steep it for longer if you want a stronger flavour from the tea. 

Can chai be drunk without milk? 

Answer:  Yes, it can. In fact, many countries enjoy the plain masala chai without the milk or sugar. 

Chai comes in many forms and the multiple variations of recipes available on the internet makes it a very versatile beverage. It is enjoyed all over the world from Indian masala chai, to normal black chai with spices and no sweetener. Brewing the perfect cup of chai is easy enough and all you need is a few ingredients and a kettle. SO here’s to a better tea drinking experience to all of us!

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