I'm an Indian, in Hyderabad, so perhaps I might be able to help you!
First of all, the 'tea' you're referring to is Assam CTC, almost always. The ubiquitous tea shops use the stronger & cheaper tea dust. Nilgiri CTC is also popular, but Assam swamps the market.
Some pointers on Indian chai:
1. The spices are never premixed with the tea.
2. The spices used varies by weather and time of year. Freshly grated ginger is popular, and cardamom & cloves are strictly reserved for winter, since they are considered 'heating', and used sparingly. Pepper is rare.
3. The tea is 'cooked', not steeped, with milk. If you ask for 'Special' tea, it is cooked just in milk, no water.
4. Sugar, and lots of it.
A typical preperation might go like this:
Heat up water and milk in a pot, on low heat. It's important to start at low heat, otherwise the milk will burn. Once the mixture bubbles, it's safe to turn up the heat. Gather your ingedients, and chop your ginger. When the water and milk mixture reaches the point of steaming, add your sugar, spices and tea. Watch your pot carefully at this point since the milk mixture can quickly boil over, so usually this step is done at low heat. Turn up the heat, and your chai will immediately foam up. Turn off when the foam reaches its maximum height, usually to the point of overflowing. This is regarded as a sign that the tea is done. Some people like to swirl it around... go ahead. Filter out the tea leaves, and serve.
This is the form of tea you'd probably encounter at an Indian home, piping hot. Hyderabadi tea cafes will serve you a uniquely Hyderabadi variety, called Irani Chai, which uses a reduced, almost condensed milk. Very nice, and very popular. It's best enjoyed in a roadside cafe, along with savoury - sweet Osmani biscuits, and perhaps a samosa or two!