Indian chai is basically black tea brewed with specific spices, milk and sugar. The secret to our favorite everyday chai recipe is the spice cardamom. This recipe is simple and easy, and can be made as a single cup or brew a full pot. While many stores sell chai tea concentrate, it’s worthwhile to experiment with your own spices as it can add nuances to flavor.
Everyday Indian Chai Tea
Makes: 1 cup chai but you can adjust the ratios to make a full pot
- 1 teabag black tea
- Cinnamon stick (optional, or substitute with round cinnamon)
- Whole green cardamom pods
- 2/3rd cup milk
- Sugar to taste
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Grind the cardamom pods
Caption: Green cardamom pods
Use the mortar and pestle to crack open the green cardamom pods to extract the brown-black seeds inside. For one cup of tea, grind 1 medium sized cardamom pod. Remove the shells and grind the seeds to a fine powder. The ground cardamom creates a lovely flavor which is one of the defining aspects of chai tea. In a pinch, you can use ground cardamom powder but the flavor is not as good.
Step 2: Boil the water
Take two thirds of a cup of cold water and boil it. If you’re planning to make a larger amount of chai tea, the ratio we prefer is one-third milk and two-thirds water, but experiment and adjust this to taste. Always try to use fresh (preferably filtered) cold water if possible.
Step 3: Heat the milk
Pour the milk into your cup or pot, and heat it in the microwave. Again, if you’re planning to make a larger amount of chai tea, the ratio I prefer is one-third milk and two-thirds water, but you can adjust this to taste.
Step 4: Steep the chai
After the water has boiled, pour it into the milk, stirring in the cardamom powder and add the cinnamon stick. Steep the tea approximately 3-5 minutes before removing the tea bag. At this point the tea should turn the beautiful brown colour characteristic of chai.
Step 5: Add sugar and serve
Add sugar to taste for the chai, and enjoy!
Recommended Tea for Indian Chai
While many black teas work, we recommend Tetley British Blend as a tea which tastes wonderful with this chai recipe. It is an affordable everyday tea and produces a rich flavor without an excessive tannin taste. Another tea which tastes great with chai is PG Tips Black Tea. Do not attempt to make chai with anything other than black tea.