Harini Devaguptapu, Staff Writer

After a long tiring day at school concocting the perfect cup of chai is the most refreshing and therapeutic feeling. Just the process of making the chai is energizing and motivating to finish the rest of your day while you wait for your chai to simmer and blend into the perfect flavors. As the spices get infused into the liquid, the room is filled with the aroma of the smell of chai. 

Chai is a creamy black tea with different spices that can be added varied to personal taste. The difference between chai and masala chai is that masala chai is spiced tea. The word “chai” is a Hindi word that means “tea”. 

Chai was first made under the direction of Emperor Ashoka who created it as an Ayurvedic drink that supported the health of whoever drank it. It originated 5,000 years ago in India when it was considered to be an elixir with water and different herbs and spices, with the tea content added later. 

Chai is important to families in India as it is an important part of showing hospitality to guests. It gives comfort to family and friends who are gathered together. It energizes us in the morning, afternoon, and evening from drowsiness, and it also gives us comfort. 

Freshman Ekam Gupta expressed how “chai is [her] boost of energy and it keeps [her] connected to her culture and it’s tasty!”

Making chai is rather simple, but you have to figure out how to formulate it to your own tastes and balance out the different flavors to your own liking. The commonly used spices are cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger. You also need milk or any milk substitute, water, sweetener, and black tea. Sometimes the tea you get comes with masala, though it’s a personal preference. 

The first way to make chai is the way that I was taught by my family. Usually, the milk-to-water ratio is 2:1, but I prefer my chai to be milkier; therefore, I follow a 1:1 ratio. One glass of chai is measured by one-half milk and one-half water. 

Next, one spoon of chai mix or a chai bag. It is preferred to use chai powder itself, but you can also use a regular black tea mix. You can alter this to your preference, adding more for a stronger cup of chai. 

While that is on the stove you can crush your spices to add to the mixture. You let that simmer until it gets its beautiful caramel-brown color and let it come to a boil and then turn it off. You then strain your tea and add a sweetener of your choice. There you have it, your chai!

You can also do the double boil method, the method my dad prefers. You add water to the heat and let it simmer, then add your spices into the mixture to let the flavors soak into the water. After the water starts to boil, you can add the tea. Turn the heat down and let the chai simmer for a bit and add in your milk. After this, let your chai simmer and go to a boil again; quickly turn the heat down, turn it up again, and let it boil again. This will make your chai extra creamy and create a bubbly milk layer on top.

After you’re done, you can strain your chai and serve it. Chai is occasionally served with biscuits and snacks. 

Something I have always seen my family in India or the vendors on the side of the street do with their chai is pour the chai from one glass to another to create that bubbly foamy texture on top. It makes the chai experience even better. 

Photo by Mae Mu