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Chai Tea Latte
When I was in Starbucks the other day I overheard someone order Chai Tea Latte and thought how silly the term is. Chai is the word most used to designate tea in much of South Asia and Latte is milk. They simple wanted tea with milk. Chai is a common beverage from South Asia through India and into Iran and can be purchased any where from street vendors to restaurants known as Irani caf?s or Chai Khanas. When this tea is made properly it is let boil over a steady heat and not steeped at all.
If you have spent anytime in Asia you will know that the term most commonly used is not Chai tea but masala chai and indicates a spicy very milky tea. When you buy this in the west what you are actually buying is a chai latte of steamed milk that uses spiced tea instead of espresso beans. Some coffee house will mix the espresso and spiced tea into the steamed milk and call it Dirty Chai.
Masala chai has been used in Asia, beginning in the Assam region for many hundreds of years and was used originally for it?s medicinal qualities buy the natives when the British East Indian Company moved into India and started growing it to relieve them of their dependence on China for all of their tea.
The easiest way to make Chai Tea Latte or Masala is to either hard simmer or actually boil a mixture of whole milk, water and whatever tea you are using and your spices. Depending on your particular taste you can take it off immediately from it?s boil, strain it and serve or you can let it simmer for a while. Letting it simmer will increase the strength of the tea and the caffeine but will lower the amount of anti oxidants. When you are ready to serve, clean off all of the solid tea and spice left over's.
There are as many recipes for making Chai Tea Latte as there are people who enjoy its smooth flavor and this puts it into being a class of teas rather than a specific type. The amount of experimentation you can do with masala is endless and you will enjoy every bit of it.