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Chai with buttered toast and a book on a table with flowers to the side.
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5 from 4 votes

Authentic Chai + What Does Chai (Tea) Taste Like?

Learn how to make authentic chai and about its taste. Imagine the perfect blend of spice and sugar with the invigorating crispness of hotblack tea, all wrapped up in the comforting creaminess of milk!
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: authentic chai, indian chai
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 117kcal
Author: Shilpa Joshi


  • 1 Pot


Base Chai Recipe

  • cups water
  • 2-3 tsp tea leaves or tea bag equivalent
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar adjust to your preference of sweetness
  • cup milk whole milk for creaminess, substitute plant-based milk for vegan chai

Masala chai powder - adjust quantities based on what flavor notes you'd like to hit or make masala chai powder to use

  • 1/16 tsp clove powder
  • 1/16 tsp black pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • tsp cinnamon powder


  • Add1.5 cups of water to a pot.  
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of black tea (or tea bags) and sugar.
  • Bring the tea to a simmer.  Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.  This helps the flavor infuse to give the characteristic strong tea taste. 
  • Add in spices. As mentioned in the blog post,there is a variety of ways you can make and flavor a cup of chai.
  • Addmilk (about 1.25 cups) and let it boil for 4-5 minutes. We bring it to a boil 2 to 3 times.   
  • Strain and serve.


See blog post for more details.
The first thing to note is that making chai is very personal and there is a lot of room for adjusting according to your taste.  You can even adjust the quantity of water or milk.  You can use dairy milk or make vegan chai by substituting plant-based milk.
Traditional chai is made by two key points:
  1. Adding water and tea first and let it simmer to infuse the flavor
  2. Bringing the tea to a boiling at least twice. I like stronger tea, I let it simmer for 5-7 minutes depending on the quantity.
To flavor the chai, either make a quick DIY chai masala blend or add in one or a combination of the below:
  • Ginger (I often use fresh ginger! But you can also use ground ginger powder)
  • Cardamom powder to make cardamom chai
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint leaves (a favorite in the summer!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper powder (add in a pinch to any of the above for a hint of spice)


Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 0.1mg