To Chai or Not To Chai

You haven’t truly tasted great chai until you’ve made your own. Trust me. Total control over proportions and ingredients will take your favorite rainy day drink to a whole new level.

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text design and doodles by  yashvi tibrewal • illustration and photo by teddie stewart


• ⅓ cup milk (not skim milk — almond milk is a great alternative)

• ⅔ cup water

• 2 teaspoons sugar

• 1 teaspoon loose tea leaves

• A tiny piece of ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger (optional)

• 4 cardamom pods or ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Crush the cardamom and ginger with a mortar and pestle (or buy it pre-ground). Pour water, cardamom and ginger into a saucepan. Place over medium heat. Allow to heat up, until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the water. Add milk and tea leaves. Then, begin to stir the chai (stir continuously to prevent scalding the milk). When the chai comes to a boil, turn off the heat and stir well. Strain carefully into your favorite mug, and serve.


If classic chai isn’t thrilling enough for you, or if you’re a self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur, use chocolate milk instead. Top if off with whipped cream if you’re feeling crazy or if you just want that Instagram #aesthetic.


Cinnamon adds a tasty kick to your chai that the classic doesn’t have. Crush in ½ an inch of a cinnamon stick or use ½ a teaspoon of pre-ground cinnamon. Add it into your saucepan with the milk and tea leaves!


For those who like to live life on the edge, here’s a spicy, delicious and extra Indian twist on the classic. Grind the ingredients listed below together or buy premade masala mix and add them into your saucepan with the water.

• 4 cloves

• 2 cardamom pods

• 1 cinnamon stick

• ½ teaspoon ground ginger

•  ⅛ teaspoon fennel seed

• A tiny piece of fresh ginger