Where Does Masala Chai Tea Originate?
There are many chai origin stories, including remnants of ancient Ayurvedic rituals that used spices for their medicinal properties. More-recent history includes the colonial British, who set up tea plantations in India in the 1800s. Hoda Paripoush, a tea sommelier and founder of Sloane Fine Tea Merchants, says chai methods differ based on the history of the region. For example, in agrarian Punjab, where she was born, chai has a higher milk-to-tea ratio. This is my sister’s recipe, but masala chai offers infinite possibilities. Some use tea bags; others, loose leaf. Your spices can be simple, or you might add fennel, cloves and ginger. “It always hits the spot for me because it’s not a tea that you can whip up within a minute,” says Paripoush. “It requires a lot of simmering, a lot of love.” —Radiyah Chowdhury