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Masala Chai – Spiced Tea Latte

Masala Chai – Spiced Tea Latte is a robust and exhilarating warm beverage. Learn to make authentic Indian spiced milk tea at home using this easy and quick recipe.

Masala chai is a super popular drink from India. This caramel color tea is rich and flavorful with warm spice notes that positively awakens all your senses.

This post details tips on how to make Best Indian Masala tea. It also has ideas to customize to your taste. Learn to DIY popular spiced chai tea lattes like Starbucks with this detail recipe. It is easy and inexpensive compared to Starbucks chai latte!

Indian spiced milk tea served in three glasses along with cookies and snack.

Recipe Inspiration

Growing up in India, my family made this rich tea drink every single day.  My mom would brew it early in the morning for breakfast.

She also made it for afternoon and evening snack time. It is a drink of vitality and tastes invigorating.

I learned to make tea in my mom’s kitchen. In fact,  it was the very first recipe I learned and made when I was a teenager. Both my parents appreciated and encouraged those early efforts..  I have vivid memories of it !!

Popular Indian Beverage

Masala Chai is an ubiquitous Indian drink. Every household makes their own version of milk tea. From roadside tea stalls to fancy Five Star restaurants,  masala chai is served all over India.

Beat the heat with Hot Tea

Spiced Indian tea is usually served piping hot. You will be surprised to know that even in scorching summer heat, a lot of people drink hot tea. It’s one way to beat the heat with heat !!

A red kettle and two glasses filled with Chai tea.

What is Masala Chai

The word Masala in English means spices and chai means tea. So literally the meaning of the word Masala chai is Spiced Tea.

What is Chai Tea Latte

In the United States, Starbucks popularized the traditional Indian milk tea by calling it Chai Tea Latte. Latte is a frothy steamed milk beverage.

Since chai is tea, it is essentially tea-tea frothy milk beverage. It sounds funny that way..so let’s call it Indian spiced tea latte.

What is Cutting Chai

Cutting chai is popular Indian street food.  The roadside tea stalls ( also called Tapri or Thela ) sell half the size of regular tea servings at reduced price.

Cutting chai typically served in small clear glasses. The serving size is just enough to refresh your urge to sip something warm and soothing.

What is Kadak Chai ( also called Karak Chai)

Kadak or Karak Chai is strongly brewed black tea with steamed milk.  The loose tea leaves are boiled for a longer time so it becomes really strong in flavor. It often also has ginger and cardamom added to it.

A hand pouring caramel colored tea brewed with spices in a glass cup.

DIY Starbucks Chai Tea Latte

Learn how to make Starbucks style Chai tea latte which tastes very similar to traditional Indian masala chai in less than 15 minutes using this recipe. It is made with a mixture of black tea, milk, fresh ginger, and a few dry mulling spices.

Soothing herbal drink

Warm spiced tea works great to soothe sore throat. You often see everyone drinking it to fight common ailments like coughs, cold and chills. Many people use it to combat common headaches.

The warm spice mixture along with fresh ginger has been used in Indian kitchens for centuries. Golden Turmeric Milk also is my favorite herbal drink especially during winter months. I love these herbal remedies from Grandma’s Kitchen!

A tea cup and a strainer on the serving tray along with cookies and spices used in making milk tea latte.

Ingredients

Detailed measurements, instructions, and notes are on the printable recipe card towards the end of the page. Here’s a recap with explanation:

Black Tea : you can use loose leaf tea, tea powder or tea bags. Assam tea is a stronger black tea variety whereas Darjeeling black tea is mellow in taste.

Sweetener : traditionally tea is brewed with sugar. You can however use raw sugar, Stevia,  honey or jaggery. For the low sugar version, you can skip it altogether.

Milk : typically regular whole milk is used. You can also use almond milk or other plant milk to make it vegan. Whole milk will make tea richer while 0 % , 1% or 2% milk will make it lighter and low calorie.

Fresh Ginger : fresh ginger adds depth of flavor and a bit of spicy notes to the tea. You can use dry ginger powder but use only 1/4 proportion.

Whole Spices : I use fennel seeds, cinnamon stick and green cardamom to add delightful flavors. You can also add cloves and black pepper.

Ingredients used in making this recipe.

How to make Masala chai

This traditional Indian beverage is made by brewing black tea with milk of your choice. You add some sweetener ( sugar ) and whole Indian spices, such as fresh ginger, cardamom, fennel seeds and cinnamon. It is served hot.

• Place a sauce pan on medium heat. Add water. Add fennel seeds, slightly crushed cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and sweetener of your choice.
• Bring to a boil. Add milk and let it come to gentle boil. Add black tea powder and freshly shredded ginger.
• Stir well and turn the heat off. (don’t continue to boil the tea, it may get bitter)
• Let it steep at least 5 minutes.
• Use a fine mesh strainer and strain into a glass or mug. Enjoy warm.

Pro Tips

  1. I add tea to the recipe very last and just bring it to gently boil. Do not over boil the mixture after you add tea. It makes unpleasant bitter tea full of tannins.
  2. Adding fresh ginger just before turning the heat off brings out intense flavor. Do not boil ginger in water from the beginning.
  3. You can use whole spices or powder mix. Whole spices taste fresh. If you are using premade chai spice mix, add a bit extra for intense flavors.
  4. Use as many or as little spices as you want. You just make it simple without any spice. ( plain black milk tea)  just Ginger Tea ( Aadrak Chai) or just cardamom tea (Elaichi Chai)
  5. If you prefer, you can make a big batch of tea. Roughly keep the ingredients in same proportion

Process step collage showing four steps involved in making spiced Indian milk tea.

Serving Suggestions

Chai can be served all by itself. I often have it with sweet tea biscuits like Parle G ( available in Indian Stores) or tea cookies ( Trader Joe’s )

Indian black tea goes well with most breakfast and snack foods.  Pohe, Bread upma, Misal or Pav Bhaji are our family favorite leisurely weekend brunch recipes that taste amazing with Masala Chai.

I love it with Chivada ( Puffed Rice Trail Mix) especially when friends drop by for afternoon tea meet or kitty.

You can also serve it with Roasted Masala Chickpeas or spicy peanuts.

A cup of warm tea.

Instant Pot Masala Chai

After I got my Instant Pot a few years ago,  I decided to make my favorite tea recipe in it. I love Instant Pot for several reasons

1. It avoids boiling over milk and ruining the tea.
2. Helps making a big batch at once without babysitting and watching over it.
3. Tea steeped in Instant Pot has a smooth taste compared to boiled on stove top method.
4. Many times I keep the mixture in the Instant Pot overnight and use a timer function to wake up to a freshly made cup of masala chai.

How to make Instant Pot Masala Chai

Add a cup of water in the main insert. Place all ingredients except milk in another smaller container that can fit inside the main insert.

Place a trivet and put the tea mixture container over the trivet. Close the lid.

Choose 3 minutes cooking time on high. After it’s done cooking, let the pressure release naturally. 

After it is safe to open the lid, take the inner pot out. Strain the tea. Add in separately warmed milk. Mix well. Serve warm and enjoy !

A red tea kettle and two glass cups filled with Indian Spiced tea latte. This masala chai is served with tea cookies.

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A red tea kettle and two glass cups filled with Indian Spiced tea latte. This masala chai is served with tea cookies.

Masala Chai - Indian Spiced Tea Latte

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

Indian Masala Tea is an invigorating, exhilarating warm beverage. It is sensory delight that refreshes you while awakening your senses. Learn to DIY popular spiced chai tea lattes like Starbucks with this easy and detail recipe.

Ingredients

Useful Kitchen Items

Instructions

    Stove Top Instructions :

    Place a sauce pan on medium heat. Add water. Add fennel seeds,  slightly crushed cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and sweetener of your choice.

    Bring to a boil. Add milk and let it come to gental boil. Add black tea powder and freshly shredded ginger.

    Stir well and turn the heat off. (don’t continue to boil the tea, it may get bitter)

    Let it steep at least 5 minutes.

    Using a mesh strainer, strain into a glass or mug. Enjoy warm. Chai Cheers !

    Instant Pot Instructions :

    Add a cup of water in the main insert. Place all ingredients except milk in another smaller container that can fit inside the main insert.

    Place a trivet and put the tea mixture container over the trivet. Close the lid.

    Choose 3 minutes cooking time on high. After it's done cooking, let the pressure release naturally. 

    After it is safe to open the lid, take the inner pot out. Strain the tea. Add in separately warmed milk. Mix well. Serve warm and enjoy !

Notes

Pro Tips for Best Instant Pot Masala Chai

  1. Change the sealing ring so it doesn't cross flavor from other savory recipes.
  2. To avoid milk separation,  I add warm milk after the pressure cooker tea is ready. It avoids splatters and burn messages.
  3. Do not use a quick release method when a high amount of liquid is pressure cooked. It will splatter the hot liquid all around.
  4. You can use the pot in pot method for quick 1 or 2 cups of tea. You can also use the entire inner pot for 8+ cups tea brewing.
  5. BATCH MAKING: You can make a big batch of the masala chai and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Do not add milk while making the big tea batch. To reheat, add the warm milk when ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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SOME FAQ ABOUT INDIAN TEA

Is masala chai caffeinated ?

Yes. Chai or Tea does have caffeine in it. It is about 1/3 of coffee. Typically a cup of brewed black tea has 40 mg of caffeine compared to 120 mg of caffeine in black coffee.

Is Masala Chai spicy ?

Masala Chai or Spiced Tea Latte is not hot spicy. It has blend of herbs with relatively strong flavors but it does not burn your palate type spicy. It is strong and flavorful.

What spices are in masala chai?

Most people use a combination of different warming spices in the Masala Chai- Spiced Tea Latte. Fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger is what I love. You can also add black peppercorns, star anise or cloves.

What is the difference between chai and masala chai ?

Chai is generic Hindi name for black tea. Masala chai is black tea brewed with mulling spices.

Masala chai without sugar

You can make this recipe without adding any sugar. Fennel seeds and cinnamon have sweet flavor notes so it does add a tinge of sweetness.

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Linda Wettlaufer

Sunday 28th of February 2021

What would be the ingredients of you want to make a large pot of tea do you can drink it over a few days?

admin

Monday 1st of March 2021

You can use the same ingredients. Just don't add milk if you plan to keep it for few days. Add warm milk just before drinking.

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