Legend has it that an Indian king, over 5000 years ago, combined spices, tea, and milk to create a healing beverage. Chai means “tea” in Hindi. There are many versions, regionally to those passed down to generations.
Chai in northern India tends to be highly aromatic with flavors including cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Chai from eastern India is served in clay cups which lend an earthy flavor combined with the spicy tones. In southern India, chai is served with a creamy froth created from vigorous shaking prior to pouring into glasses. The tradition of chai tea spread over the Indian continent early in its inception. Irani chai is made from Iranian tea leaves plus regional spices.
In the US, we see an increase in popularity in Chai tea offerings – Starbucks and other coffee retailers sell hot and cold versions. You can even find it in convenience and grocery stores. Spice distributor Carolina Ingredients offers a Chai Spice popcorn seasoning. Warm flavors of cinnamon and cardamom combined with a touch of heat from black pepper and a creamy base create a taste sensation for your tongue. This snack seasoning would also pair well with multigrain and ancient grain blends.