Many of us are fans of chai tea. Not only because of the unique name, but also the special taste. But what is chai tea and why is it so special? What are the benefits of chai? We are going to share everything you need in this article.
What is Chai Tea?
You might know “chai” as a flavor of the tea. As a matter of fact, Chai means “tea” in Hindi. So when you hear someone say “chai tea”, they’re actually saying “tea tea”.
Chai tea in India developed during British colonization. As one of the commodities of the British East India Company, tea became a major part of daily consumption in India. Eventually, India learned the British preparation of tea – black tea with milk and sugar. To create their own flavors, they put their species into it, including ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
Components of Chai
Simple and easy, chai generally contains four parts: tea, milk, spices, and sweetener.
However, there is no specific recipe for chai tea. It varies across families, towns, and cultures. Chai tea we are drinking in North America nowadays is called masala chai. Masala is a mixture of spices in Indian food. Masala chai, therefore, translates to spiced tea.
Chai tea uses various types of teas, such as green teas, South African herb red rooibos, etc. Among those, the most popular ones are the Assam and Darjeeling black teas. These two native tea leaves have a strong, full-bodied flavor, which can bring you a wonderful drinking experience.
While Indian chai uses buffalo milk, western countries prefer to use cow’s milk. Milk is a must in chai tea, especially whole milk. Why? Because people believe whole milk is the best way to bring out the richness from all the spices.
The spices, also known as “masala” in India, vary by region, climate, and culture. Cardamom is the most common species, and also the most expensive one. Additional ingredients commonly found in chai include ginger, cinnamon, fennel seeds, peppercorn, nutmeg, and cloves.
To reach the best drinking experience, people use at least four spices to make chai tea. But it includes many more for most of the time.
Tip: Best chai tea comes from purest version spices, like cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and cardamom pods.
White sugar, brown sugar and honey are the common sweetener for chai tea. In addition, jaggery and unrefined cane sugar are also typical sweeteners due to their concentrated sweet flavor. In India, chai often includes more sugar than other drinks to get the fullest flavor of spices.
Chai Tea Benefits
It Improves Heart Health
According to studies, the main ingredient in chai tea, cinnamon, is able to lower blood pressure. At the same time, black tea in chai is also effective to offer this heart-healthy effect.
More researches show that four or more cups of black tea per day results in slightly lower blood pressure levels. And drinking three or more cups of black tea per day helps lower risk of heart disease.
It Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
How does it work? It’s because chai contains ginger and cinnamon. Both ginger and cinnamon have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels.
To illustrate, cinnamon is able to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar levels by 10-29%. By lowering insulin resistance, it makes your body easier to bring sugar out of blood and into your cells. Eventually, it lowers your blood sugar levels.
It Improves Digestion
One of the most indigents of chai, ginger, is known for its anti-nausea effects. In fact, ginger is extremely effective at anti-nausea during pregnancy. Studies show that a total of 1278 pregnant women benefit from 1.1-1.5 grams daily dose of ginger. This is about the amount of ginger you can get from a cup of chai.
Moreover, other spices including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom also have antibacterial property. This property appears to help you prevent digestive issues.
It Helps You Lose Weight
Similar to other types of tea, chai tea also has the ability to prevent weight gain.
Firstly, chai tea uses whole milk, which is an excellent source of protein. How magic is protein? It is a nutrient to help reduce hunger. Thus, chai tea can be more effective than other types of tea at preventing you from overeating.
Secondly, black tea in chai plays an important role again. Several compounds in black tea actually help promote fat breakdown and reduce the number of calories you absorb. And a study conducted on drinking three cups of black tea per day may help prevent weight gain or belly fat.
Finally, the black pepper in chai tea also helps prevent the accumulation of body fat.
Besides the above benefits, chai tea is also low in caffeine compared to coffee!
Does Chai Tea Have Caffeine?
More and more people are switching from coffee to tea for low caffeine. If you are one of them, chai tea is one of your choices! Since chai tea uses black tea as the base, they are similar in caffeine content. Compared to coffee, chai tea contains about half the caffeine than a cup of coffee.
Chai Tea Latte Recipe
Want to have some great chai tea at home? Here is our chai tea latte recipe for you!
What you’ll need:
- Place loose-leaf chai tea in the top of ABERDEEN and pour boiling water into it.
- Let it steep and then place the infuser teapot on top of your mug.
- Heat and froth your milk.
- Add the warmed milk to your chai and stir to combine. Finally, top with a spoonful of milk froth.
What is chai tea? We hope this article gave you all the answers you were looking for! Now, get your chai tea latte ready, let’s experience its benefits and the Indian culture behind it together.
Check out our chai collection here.