Authentic Chai Tea
Authentic Indian Chai
What we in America think of as chai tea, or a chai tea latte, is a far cry from what is traditionally served in the rest of the world. An authentic Chai Tea recipe is made with thick buffalo milk, considerably too much sugar, black tea, and cardamom pods…
If you’re lucky.
Served in scant shot glasses from dawn until way past dusk, this beverage is EVERYWHERE you look in India. It’s in little make-shift cafes, sold from chai-wallahs at every bus station, train station and street corner, brewing in nearly every home.
It’s been many years sense I last visited India. Yet I’ll never forget sitting in open-air chai shops drinking creamy, ultra-sweet chai with friends.
Chai Tea Latte Recipe
The last summer I spent in India, a friend who spoke English well, nicknamed the cardamom pod the VIP nut.
She explained that cardamom pods went in the chai cups of those they considered special. If they didn’t care for the person, and were just serving them chai to be polite, no cardamom!
We sipped chai multiple times a day, every day. Everywhere we went, new friends would offer it with bright smiles.
I miss those chai over-dosed summers.
Chai Tea Recipe Ingredients
- Water – The base of the recipe. Use plenty of water, then let it simmer down into strong condensed tea.
- Star anise – For bold licorice flavor that packs a punch.
- Cinnamon – Use whole sticks, so they can be easily removed.
- Cardamom pods – The VIP nut. *wink*
- Black tea bags – Or you can use loose black tea leaves.
- Half & half – Or whole milk.
- Sugar – To make it sweet, of course!
How To Make Homemade Chai Tea
While traditional Chai is incredibly rich and flavorful, it is surprisingly easy to make at home. I love making a large batch, and reheating a single cup at a time for a few days.
Here’s how to make a perfectly creamy and spicy chai tea latte:
- Mix. Press the cardamom pods until they crack. Bring the water, tea, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom to a boil.
- Simmer. Boil for at least 8 minutes until the tea is very dark and has reduced to about 2 cups. Strain and add the sugar. Add the milk and stir until hot.
- Pour. Place the (used) cardamom pods in the bottom of the cups for good friends!
Get The Full (Printable) Chai Latte Recipe Below!
Best Chai Tea Recipe Tips
Remember: Chai isn’t meant to be low carb or low sugar. It is meant to be strong, sweet, silky, and packed with spice!
If you want your chai recipe to taste authentic, use the half & half and plenty of sugar.
You can use alternative sweeteners such as coconut sugar or date sugar; however, I would not recommend products such as stevia that will drastically change the chai flavor profile.
Also, using any liquid sugar swaps – like maple syrup – will give you the sweetness you need, but will most likely change the chai tea consistency. If you give that a try, let me know in the comments what you think!
How Long Does Chai Tea Keep Well?
You can make chai several days ahead and rewarm it when needed. Just keep in an airtight container in the fridge, and leave the spices in the chai until ready to serve. The longer they sit in the tea the bolder the flavor will be!
Can I Make a Vegan Chai?
Absolutely! While half & half will yield the creamiest chai, you can swap out plant based milks and still have a terrifically flavorful tea. You want a base that has a high fat content, so almond or coconut milk would work best.
Looking for More Hot Beverage Recipes?
- Slow Cooker Cider Wassail
- French Drinking Chocolate
- Mulled Wine
- Lemon Ginger Detox Tea
- Orange Clove Hot Toddy
- Drinking Caramel Recipe
Authentic Chai Tea Recipe
- Press the cardamom pods until they crack. Bring the water, tea, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom to a boil.
- Boil for 8-10 minutes, until the tea is black and has reduced to about 2 cups. Strain and add the sugar. Add the half & half and stir until hot.
- Place the used cardamom pods in the bottom of the cups for good friends.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!