Confused Between Chai Tea And Chai Latte? Here's A Breakdown
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If you're a chai lover confused by the barrage of trendy tea-based drinks, you're not alone. Be it the Americanised chai latte or chai tea which is too close to masala chai -- it's hard to be sure about the ingredients in each drink and all you can do is ask your barista. 

As it turns out, in many countries, especially in the States, 'chai' is largely (and perhaps incorrectly) considered to be a flavour and not a drink or ingredient. This flavour is associated with a type of tea predominantly made with cinnamon or cardamom notes. 

Whereas, a basic Indian chai doesn't usually come with masala at all. A chai latte is sweet and milky and may be made with a chai concentrate that is steamed with milk since the drink is dairy-based. A Chai tea is made differently. And though these two drinks may have masala, they are different from the quintessential desi masala chai. So, what are the differences between chai tea, chai latte and masala chai? Let's find out: 

What Is Chai Tea? 

Chai tea is the closest thing to a masala chai you can score if the menu doesn't have a masala chai. It's a loose-leaf black tea that has been spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and pepper, although some recipes may include ginger or other spices. It's typically served with milk, honey or sugar. 

What Is Chai Latte? Is it Different from Chai Tea? 

Interestingly, the idea of using milk and honey in tea was popularised by the British who expanded tea production in India to compete with the Chinese market. Honey and milk were usually how the Brits usually softened the taste of their strong black tea and this style of making tea has somehow stayed relevant in some way or other. 

A chai latte is a hot drink similar to a caffe latte. It can be prepared in more than one way. It can be brewed directly in warm milk since the ratio of milk is higher in this drink or it can be prepared. In case it's made with chai concentrate, it's finished off with frothy milk. But it's essentially a milky tea that can be made with spices. Although it shares many ingredients with chai tea, chai lattes are lighter in taste and not meant to be as strong as a regular cha or even chai tea.

What Is Masala Chai? How Is It Different? 

Since most new-age chai-based drinks use masala, it's easy to confuse those with basic masala chai. A masala chai is more commonly available and also usually cheaper. It's usually just tea brewed with bracing spices which had potent aromas, like ginger, cloves, cinnamon, pepper etc. The milk ratio is usually pretty crucial in a masala chai since it has a spice-forward taste, unlike chai latte or chai tea. 

The ratio of water to milk can range from 1:1 to 2:1 depending on the density of the milk. It's important to remember that a masala chai is likely to taste similar to Indian tea than a chai tea or a latte. However, if you want a contemporary kick along with a spicy kick, a a chai tea could be your best bet.