Chai tea’s origins are mysterious, but most agree that this spicy-sweet tea traces back thousands of years to India and surrounding regions. It’s thought that chai was originally the drink of royalty, and was used as an herbal remedy during the Ayurvedic period.
This specialty tea type offers a number of different flavor profiles depending on where it’s enjoyed. For example, residents of northern India prefer a sweeter chai, while incarnations from southern India (known as masala chai) feature a spicier profile.
Chai teas combine tea leaves with a variety of different spices. Some of the most common spices include:
Cinnamon – with an unmistakable sweet and spicy flavor
Cardamom – with a lively mild pepper taste
Star anise – the seed of an Asian evergreen with a licorice-like flavor