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Is it Masala Chai or Chai tea?

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

Tea Terminology is a very interesting topic. There is a lot of terminology going around, about certain teas and tea types. For instance, people always wonder what is the difference between Masala Chai and Chai Tea? Or is there really any difference?

‘Chai’ is the Indian term for tea. So basically, when you say, ‘Chai Tea’, you actually saying ‘tea tea’. Sounds a bit redundant I know lols.

‘Masala’ translates to ‘spiced’. So, Masala Chai means Spiced tea. This is the actual proper term used the popular beverage which is black tea mixed with spices, and it can be any type of Masala Chai you most often find spices like ginger, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, coriander, and cumin. In India where this tea blend originates, there is no specific recipe for masala chai it tends to differ from region to region. The Masala (spices) can also be put in food e.g. masala chicken, beef even vegetables etc.

In restaurants you will see this tea goes by many names:

Chai tea

Chai Latte


In coffee shops, good quality Masala Chai is loose-leaf tea mixed with whole spices steeped and simmered in water and/or milk. Some establishments nowadays tend to use a spiced powder or syrup imitating masala chai flavour. The difference in the quality and taste is extremely noticeable and it a complete difference experience.

This rich strong and creamy blend has a lot of anti-oxidant properties, and is a natural immune booster especially if it contains spices like cinnamon or cumin. This tea may help with the cardiovascular system health and has anti-cancer properties.

The Masala Chai is a true delight and Indian heritage which has gained world-wide popularity and never disappoints if its good quality. Enjoy your cup of tea !

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