Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

Chai Tea: A Quick History of This Increasingly Popular Ancient Beverage


In the United States, chai (rhymes with “pie”) tea typically refers to the milky, spicy and slightly sweet tea beverage that has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. If you want to be in the know, ordering a chai tea is redundant, because “chai” is the word for tea in several different languages, so you’re actually ordering a “tea tea.”

Masala chai is traditionally said to support digestion and promote feelings of warmth and well-being.

The variety most Americans refer to as chai is actually called masala chai, which originated in India many centuries ago and means “spice tea.” Though there is no one exact recipe for masala chai (each region and household in India has its own), it is generally made of the following:

  • A strong black tea
  • Heavy milk
  • Spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper
  • Sweetener, such as honey

Traditionally, masala chai is made by boiling loose tea leaves, then adding in freshly ground spices, milk and honey or other sweetener. Some say that this version of spiced tea was originally created in order to mask the poor quality of tea available in India while it was colonized by Great Britain. It’s said that the British kept the high-quality tea for themselves and gave the lower quality tea to the native people.

Today, chai vendors known as “chai wallahs” are common in many areas of India, and as Americans might gather to chat in a coffee shop, Indians often gather at a chai wallah to take a break from their days.

Is Chai Good for You?

Masala chai is said to produce a warming, soothing sensation as well as support digestion. Modern-day versions vary as to the health benefits they offer, depending on which particular ingredients are used. However, traditional masala chai is composed of numerous beneficial ingredients, such as:

  • Black tea: Studies have shown that regularly drinking three or more cups of black tea a day can support your heart health, and a study in the European Heart Journal also found that drinking black tea improves the ability of arteries to relax and expand to keep blood pressure healthy. However, adding milk to the tea, as is common in chai, blocked this impact.

There is some debate as to whether or not adding milk to tea cancels out its beneficial properties. According to the Indian Tea Association, a UK study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a standard addition of 10-15% milk did not influence tea’s antioxidant properties.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cardamom and pepper are often added to masala chai, and give it its characteristic warm, spicy flavor.

  • Ginger: The active ingredient in ginger is gingerol, a compound that's thought to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain. It's commonly used as a digestive aid and contains compounds that ease motion sickness and nausea and inhibit vomiting.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that out of all spices, cinnamon is one of the richest sources of disease-fighting antioxidants. It also has anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. And, it may help boost brain function and control blood sugar.
  • Cloves: The active compound in cloves, eugenol, combines with other clove components to make this pungent spice highly anti-bacterial. It's also anti-inflammatory and the compound has been studied for use in preventing toxicity from environmental pollutants and joint inflammation.

How to Make Your Own Chai

Here at we absolutely love Ajmera’s Xpress Chai. It’s creamy and delicious, and like its name implies, takes just an instant to make. The chai packets are great for taking to work or when you’re in a hurry, as you simply add hot water and your cup of tasty chai is ready.

Xpress Chai

For times when you’re on the go, or looking for chai in an instant, Ajmera’s Xpress Chai can’t be beat. It’s all natural, rich, creamy and delicious, and the packets can go with you anywhere. Just add hot water and you’ve got tasty chai tea, instantly!

Order Xpress Chai Now!

That said, making masala chai at home is fairly simple, once you’ve gathered up the ingredients. Here’s a delicious recipe that takes just a few minutes from start to finish:

Indian Masala Chai


  • 4 tsp loose tea, usually black
  • 1 piece of dry ginger
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick
  • Milk and sugar [or honey] to taste


  • Chop up ginger into fine pieces and break up cinnamon stick.
  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then add tea leaves and all the spices.
  • Let everything brew at boiling for 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Remove from heat, then let steep at room temperature for another minute.
  • Strain out the tea and pieces of spice.
  • Serve hot and fragrant, with only a touch of milk or sugar.

Serves 4
Recipe Source:

When you make this tea, make sure to take the time to really savor its flavors. We recommend sipping it while reading a really good book or chatting with really good friends.

Recommended Reading

Seven Types of Tea -- Including Five That Most People Don't Know Of -- and Their Health Benefits

Why Green Tea Would be Healthy EXCEPT for This One Dangerous Issue


Indian Tea Association

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This