Sep 8th 15 10:38 pm
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What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by Chai Drinker » Sep 8th 15 10:38 pm

I tried several major brands of Masala chai: Tazo (chocolate and Thai versions), Stash, Lipton, and Wagh Bakri (imported from India). However, there are still other brands. Which is the most authentic that is commercially available?

Lipton's "Chai" smells strongly like apple cider cinnamon, but its taste is very similar to regular dark, sharp, grey tea.

Tazo is faint, and the chocolate version is faint enough in taste that with milk it doesn't even taste as strong and rich as chocolate milk. Tazo's coconut "Thai" version is my favorite of the versions and brands that I tried in terms of taste though because I like the coconut.

Stash contains cloves and so it has a serious "clove" taste, and it's my favorite out of these ones if I were looking for the best spicy herbal taste. Image

That brings me to Wagh Bakri chai.
Image

It's from India and the South Indian store owner in the US who sold it to me said that it's the kind of Masala tea that people drink there. It tastes like the Lipton tea in that it tasted similar to regular black tea, except not as sharp, strong, and bitter in its "tea leaf" aspect as Lipton does. Otherwise it did not have as strong of a spicy herb taste as Stash does. i drank two cups made from five bags and it gave me a mild headache along with mild queesyness in the stomach.

So what is the most authentic brand, if any?
I know that people often make their own, however in my case I would be a novice and so I want to buy what is authentic as it is exactly prepared.

Sep 10th 15 4:30 am
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Re: What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by Whalebreath » Sep 10th 15 4:30 am

So what is the most authentic brand
The most authentic Masala is the one you mix yourself so that it reflects your personal taste.

I like spicy food so there's a lot of Black Pepper, Ginger
& Cardamom in mine-not big on Fennel like so many people.

I once did a blend with a lot of Guinea Pepper/Grains of Paradise it was both fabulous and something of an acquired taste-as well as frightfully expensive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aframomum_melegueta

Sep 14th 15 4:45 pm
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Re: What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by Chai Drinker » Sep 14th 15 4:45 pm

Thanks. To start with I am not really looking for my personal taste but to see what is the taste that is most commonly preferred in south India. So I wanted to see if there is a brand that reflects that.

The biggest difficulty I come up against is that it looks like the "full" or complete chai tea in India uses more spices than the commercial brands do:
The spice mixture, called Karha, uses a base of ground ginger and green cardamom pods. Other spices are usually added to this base or karha. For example, most masala chai found on the street, in restaurants or in homes incorporates one or more of the following along with ginger and cardamom, namely: cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, peppercorn, nutmeg and cloves.

Other possible ingredients include nutmeg, mace, black cardamom, chilli, coriander, rose flavouring (where rose petals are boiled along with the loose-leaf tea), or liquorice root.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masala_chai#Ingredients

This looks really good:
http://www.thesensualfoodie.com/wp-cont ... 204815.jpg

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Sep 14th 15 6:20 pm
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Re: What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by pedant » Sep 14th 15 6:20 pm


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Sep 15th 15 12:33 am
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Re: What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by jayinhk » Sep 15th 15 12:33 am

Next time you're at an Indian grocery store, you can ask for chai masala...prepacked spice mix you add to boiling CTC tea. The stores should sell big and small bags of black tea as well.

Sep 15th 15 1:27 pm
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Re: What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by Chai Drinker » Sep 15th 15 1:27 pm

I heard Adagio was excellent too. Can you buy Adagio or Rishi tea at stores in major US cities?

It seems to me that Celestial Teahouse "Mountain Chai", and after that "Starry" Chai by Good Earth, and maybe Bengal Spice or India Spice by Celestial Seasonings are best among the mass produced commercial brands in the US.

India Spice
Image
Ingredients:
Black tea, spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and Chinese star anise), roasted chicory, natural flavor and vanilla bean.
SOURCE: http://shop.celestialseasonings.com/Ind ... nings@Chai
I have not tried "India Spice" by Cel. Seasonings, but it seems like the difference is that Bengali is caffeine free:
Image
Ingredients:
Cinnamon, roasted chicory, roasted carob, natural spice and vanilla flavors with other natural flavors, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg.

Caffeine Status:
Naturally Caffeine Free
SOURCE: http://www.celestialseasonings.com/prod ... ngal-spice

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Nov 22nd 15 8:51 am
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Re: What Brand of commercial Masala Chai is the most authentic?

by tingjunkie » Nov 22nd 15 8:51 am

I'm not a chai expert, but I've always really enjoyed Harney's take on it.