Pulled chai made by a tea seller, or "chai wallah". Here's how masala chai is made at the famous Krishna's Tea Stall. Ingredients include black tea, fresh whole milk, water, black peppercorns, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Unlike many milky teas, which are brewed in water with milk later added, traditional masala chai is often brewed directly in the milk.
Masala chai (Hindi: मसाला चाय, literally "mixed-spice tea"; Urdu: مصالحہ چائے) is a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses. Although traditionally prepared by a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves, retail versions include tea bags for infusion, instant powdered mixtures, and concentrates. The noun "chai" alone refers to the beverage tea; in some places, chai is an acceptable equivalent for masala chai.
In many Eurasian languages, chai or cha is the word for tea. This comes from the Persian چای chay, which originated from the Chinese word for tea 茶 chá. (The English word tea, on the other hand, comes from the Teochew dialect of Chinese teeh.) In English, this spiced tea is commonly referred to as masala chai or simply chai, even though the term refers to tea in general in the origin language. Numerous United States coffee houses use the term chai latte or the redundant term chai tea latte for their version to indicate that the steamed milk, much like a regular cafè latte, is mixed with a spiced tea concentrate instead of espresso. By 1994 the term had gained currency on the U.S. coffeehouse scene.
Masala tea is a very popular beverage in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka). People start their day by consuming a cup of tea. This first cup of tea is fondly called 'bed tea'. Throughout the day people consume many cups of tea. Every street corner in places of business has a 'Chai Walla', a tea maker who brings hot tea to people's places of business whether they are retail businesses or commercial. Tea is a part of life and is offered to all guest at home and also to many customers visiting retail stores.