- Street side tea vendor

What is Chai?

The story of tea.

1y ago

So let us get this out of the way first. It is only Chai, not Chai Latte or Chai Tea. JUST CHAI.

Chai literally means tea when translated from Hindi, Urdu and Arabic. So why add another word to it? Just say, Chai.

The British introduced tea into India. The British wanted to remove their dependency on China for their tea supply and started cultivating it in various regions of India.

With this, tea-breaks were introduced in companies and government departments across India. This was the start of tea-culture within the Indian subcontinent.

Today India is the second-largest manufacturer of tea after China. However, it is the largest consumer of tea in the entire world!

Billions of dollars with of business has been done over a cup of tea.

From gossip to politics and from marriages to divorces all are done over a cup of tea. It may just be the most powerful drink on earth. Our current Prime Minister used to be a tea-vendor or chaiwalla in Hindi. You will always find a chaiwalla at every corner in India.

But what makes our tea different from the one consumed in the UK? Well, unlike the rest of the world, we Indians like to cook our tea. I will explain that to you in a quick recipe below.

Masala Chai

Indian tea with milk.



  • 2 tea spoons of black tea powder
  • 1.5 mug water
  • Milk as 1/4th of a mug
  • Milk can be replaced with evaporated milk (5 large spoons)
  • 2 pieces of cardamom (optional)
  • Half a tea spoon black pepper (optional)
  • Grated ginger 10 grams (optional)
  • Lemongrass (few leaves)


  1. Take 1.5 mug of water and put it for a boil.
  2. Then add the tea powder.
  3. Add the sugar as per your level of sweetness.
  4. Add milk little bit more than 1/4th of a mug.
  5. Now this is regular tea or sada chai or karak chai (all mean the same)
  6. For masala chai you need to start adding the spices. You can add all of them or any one of them. Depending on your preference.
  7. Let the entire mixture boil for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Once it reaches the color of a biscuit your are done. Lighter the shade the tea is light. Darker the shade of biscuit and the tea is on the stronger side. Too dark you have overcooked it.
  9. Take a sieve and drain it into a mug.

Recipe Notes

For people using evaporated milk please note that do not add that while cooking as it will spoil. Add the evaporated milk into the hot black tea after it has been poured into a mug. Obviously delete milk from the above instructions and recipe. Rest is the same. Can be enjoyed with toast and salted butter.

Recipe by

All Indians

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

PC: https://www.instagram.com/bosckie_selarrka

PC: https://www.instagram.com/bosckie_selarrka

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Comments (17)

  • So what the rest of the world ignorantly calls 'chai' (or chai tea), specifically a tea with spices, is actually chai masala? And 'chai' in India is just any tea?

      1 year ago
    • Chai in India is this exact above recipe. When we want it with the spices we just say masala chai. Now the interesting part here is every maker has their own way of making it. Some may add all the spices and some will add none. Every cup may just...

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        1 year ago
    • It also depends on which state you are in. Example in Gujarat or Rajasthan every cup of tea is masala chai. However, in Maharashtra or Punjabi, you have to request for the spices.

        1 year ago
  • Interesting 👍

      1 year ago
  • I love chai! My favourite fridge magnet, a gift from friend Divya who lives in New Delhi.

      11 months ago
    • I just finished a cup. Ah, the Chumbak Chai-wallah (chumbak means magnet in Hindi) Divya has good taste. I like it.

        11 months ago
  • That information was absolute new to me- wow

      1 year ago
    • Well I am glad I could impart some useful information! If you make it let me know how it was.

        1 year ago
    • 1 year ago
    • I didn’t know British introduced tea into India. Interesting post!

        1 year ago
    • They did. It was like a way to imbibe their culture into the locals. Also, generate revenue for them by selling tea to the locals. To avoid buying more tea leaves from the British, the locals would cook it for a longer time and add milk, water and...

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        1 year ago