Have you ever walked into a café to buy your favorite drink but while waiting, you had encountered to read those fascinating unfamiliar menu, like chai? We feel you! Hence, we will discuss what chai exactly means and how it tastes like in this article.
Chai is translated as “tea” from the Hindi word which is derived from the Chinese word “cha”. So basically, if you say “chai tea”, you are also saying “tea tea”, which is redundant. In Hindi’s case, chai is a mix of spices combined altogether to produce a tea-like drink. Currently, chai is famous in countries India, China, and has been gaining attention in America and some parts of Asia because of the classic and distinctive taste it contains, plus the health benefits that chair brings out. It is most famous for incorporating it with milk, coffee, sugar, and honey. Keep reading on as we also dig into what does chai tastes like.
What is Chai?
What does chai mean? As mentioned above, chai means tea and it is believed to be originated in India. Around 5,000 years ago, their King has ordered to make a medicinal or herbal tea that has healing properties for Ayurveda – a medicinal practice comprised of utilizing herbs and spices. It is believed that this was first discovered without actually using tea leaves but only a mix of spices that are also native to India.
The spices used were cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, and star anise which all offered specific functions to alleviate a specific illness or pain. Forwarding to the 1600s, black tea leaves were then discovered in China named Camellia sinensis assamica and has been incorporated into famous chai recipe that people have been enjoying drinking nowadays.
The Home-Making of Chai
Did you know that you can make your very own version of chai? Here, we have researched the simple and easy chai recipe that you can start for a first-timer:
- 4 black tea bags
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 2 whole peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2.5 cups water
- 2 cups milk (optional)
Combine cloves and peppercorns in a bowl and crush them until you can smell their aromas. In a pot, bring the water to a boil then remove from heat, then add the crushed spices, tea bags, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Cover and leave it for at least 6 minutes depending on how strong and intense the flavor you desire. Once you are set, strain and drain the spices then voila! You have just made your very own chai version. You can add some warm milk to your tea and call it milk tea!
What Does Chai Taste Like?
Once you have finally learned some facts about chai, you should know to debunk the question “does chai taste like tea” because it translates to tea. By now, you might be wondering what does exactly chai taste like. Keep reading on as we break it down for you.
Chai, without any additional ingredients included, simply taste like your usual black tea with a cinnamon and cardamom kick on the side. Its taste is bold, a little strong, and leaves your mouth a little traces of tastes of mixed spices but eventually creamy. The taste also includes a little spice as the tea contains ginger and pepper. The same reason why nowadays, it is fused with some sugar, milk, and coffee to make it seem more sweet and enjoyable.
Take note, we do not say it tastes awful or something like that, but if you do not like your tea full of flavors, you should add milk or coffee to it. Even so, it is still adored by many simply as its own.
Does Chai Have Caffeine?
Remember, chai is made up of mixes of spices and black tea; every black tea has caffeine so does chai. Expectedly, a chai cup should contain at least 25mg of caffeine, but it varies per recipe. If you want to decrease the quantity of caffeine in your chai recipe version by up to 80%, you should also decrease the steeping time.
However, did you know that tea contains a tannin compound that helps calm the nervous system? This compound interacts with caffeine which slower the absorption and effect in the body. Thus, you do not have to worry a lot about getting hyperactivity you can sometimes get on caffeine.
Chai Health Benefits
Just like other herbal tea, chai also offers a lot of health benefits that can alleviate some sickness and provide extra nutrients for the body’s needs. As to how chai was discovered, the tea delivers healing properties. This includes alleviation for moderate to severe pain such as arthritis, nausea, and even toothaches. The ginger and clove content in chai play a major role on this part for its known anti-inflammatory properties.
On the other hand, chai contains a reasonable amount of antioxidants that eliminate free radicals that cause cell damage. In the long run, these free radicals tend to create chronic disease and cancer. Cinnamon and cloves are known to have a high amount of antioxidants which are both included in chai, thus protecting your overall health and help you fight those free radicals in your body.
Chai has been known to be a drink famous for its fragrant aroma. It has been popular and widely used with coffee and milk nowadays to make it more enjoyable to consume. With its fast gaining attention around the world, there is nothing wrong to taste one out and skip the worrying about the taste because by this part, you should be able to tell “what does chai taste like” – tastes like your usual tea with balanced aromatic mixed spices.
Chai does not only offer a good company with your dishes like baked goods and pastries; it also offers health benefits. This was actually the main reason how chai was first discovered in India. It alleviates some aches, pains, and helps your body fight free radicals; it contains a huge amount of antioxidants, coming from the spices included in the making of chai. Thus, we advise you to go out and order one now on your favorite café or buy the ingredients and start from scratch!