What is Chai?
Chai is the hindi word for "tea." So when you ask for a chai tea, you're really asking for a tea tea (hehe). Here in the United States, what you're used to drinking is a masala chai. Masala is a general term for spice. Masala Chai= Spicy Tea.
Traditional Indian Masala Chai
Traditional chai is made with black tea, spices (of different varieties), equal parts milk and water, and sweetener (often just plain table sugar). The traditional method of brewing is on the stove top.
What spices are used in masala chai?
Well it depends who you ask! Given that masala is a general term, you'll find that every chai is different depending on who's making it. Some chais turn out sweet, some spicy.
That being said, many of the most popular spices used in chai are ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, all-spice, fennel, star anise, and frankly, many, many more.
Where is chai traditionally drank?
While we derive the inspiration for our chai from India, chai is a very popular drink around much of Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Africa, with endless variation in the spices that they use.