If you are a coffee or tea lover you may be faced with a long list of choices each day for how to enjoy your favorite morning brew. There are a dizzying number of new flavors and preparations for these warm, and what are for some, necessary, beverages.
Whether you’re a good old-fashioned “I’ll take it black”, the “I like mine with just a touch of sugar and milk”, or the type with an order that runs for 6 sentences kind of person, haven’t you been at least a bit intrigued by the chai craze?
What is Chai?
Chai, which rhymes with “hi”, originated in India and means “tea” (so you won’t want to say chai tea unless you want to say tea tea). The term “masala chai” means “spiced tea” and is an even more precise reference. Masala chai has been a staple of Indian culture for centuries.
Chai can be made many ways, but the traditional ingredients are black tea with heavy milk, sweetener, and a blend of spices often including cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and peppercorns.²
Sweetener is used to help bring out the spices but doesn’t have to be sugar. Honey, agave, maple syrup or even stevia could be used.
The Spread of Chai
Reportedly, masala chai goes back more than 5-thousand years to when a ruler in what is now India had it developed for medicinal purposes.¹
Served in shops, restaurants, and homes across India for a long time, chai first become known in North America in the 1990’s but didn’t reach wide popularity until recent years⁴
The new-found popularity of this spiced tea has generated a market for convenience forms of masala chai. Pre-packaged mixes and concentrates can be found in specialty stores. These handy short-cuts may not be the traditional way of preparing it, but it is a good thing if it gets more people drinking chai. Why? Because masala chai is good for you.
Benefits of Chai
While some of these ingredients may be new flavors for you, the blend is unique and can really help you get your day started off well, or help you wind down after a stressful time. Chai can also be good for your physical health.
The ingredients in chai provide anti-inflammatory benefits and they are rich in antioxidants. When consumed after a meal (as is traditional) chai can also provide digestive support³
Want to attempt to make your own – check out these Chai recipes – or do yourself a favor and come visit Atlanta Bread for our twist on this ancient beverage. Our tasty new pumpkin-spiced chai latte is now available! It will warm you up and add some spice to your day!