Making Authentic Masala

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

May 31st, '10, 10:36
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Making Authentic Masala

by TLHeille » May 31st, '10, 10:36

So, two years ago my girlfreind took a summer trip to Nepal. While there, she fell in love with the tea she was served: Masala. She brought back a lot of tea bags which she uses to make the stuff now. We usually boil some water and add two of the tea bags, cloves, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, suger.

I'd like to make some authentic, loose leaf Masala for her as a gift. Is there a guide to making something close to the real, Nepali tea? From what I understand, there would have to be a black tea base, and then some combination of spices. Any help here would be much appreciated.

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May 31st, '10, 17:53
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Re: Making Authentic Masala

by Poohblah » May 31st, '10, 17:53

Masala chai means "spiced tea," and that's about as much of a formal guideline as you can get. Apparently, in India, chai drinkers each have their own method of preparing masala chai.

If you want a recipe, there are plenty on the internet. Generally speaking though, you'll first want to bring a pot of water to a boil, mix in your spices while letting the water cool to a simmer, and add the tea last. Personally, I prefer plenty of cloves, cardamom, and black pepper, and I mix in hot whole milk at a 1:2 ratio without any sugar, but you probably will want a different taste (most people seem to prefer a warmer blend with an emphasis on cinnamon, nutmeg, and anise). I had a friend who swore by rosewater in her masala chai. Again, just experiment. As far as the tea base goes, you won't taste the nuances of the tea very much, so just get a decent black tea, nothing fancy (keemun would work well, or perhaps a bold Yunnan), and make certain that you don't overbrew. Bitter chai is not so tasty.

May 31st, '10, 21:34
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Re: Making Authentic Masala

by Elle » May 31st, '10, 21:34

I would think Indian chai would call for Indian tea. What sort, I have no idea - an inexpensive Assam? Not Darjeeling obviously.

Alternately you could buy any quality premixed loose chai - from Adagio, Tazo, Rishi....

May 31st, '10, 21:47
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Re: Making Authentic Masala

by Proinsias » May 31st, '10, 21:47

Authentic? I have no idea.

Cream, milk, honey, fresh spices and either keemun, shupu or assam make a nice chai.

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May 31st, '10, 21:56
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Re: Making Authentic Masala

by TubbyCow » May 31st, '10, 21:56

If you decide you'd rather buy it than brave it yourself, both Up N'Atom Chai and Yogic Chai have really good, really fresh blends. They're both speciality companies, so chai is all they do, and they do it well. Very spicy - the kind of flavour I think of when I think Masala chai.

Jun 1st, '10, 09:03
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Re: Making Authentic Masala

by Yogic Chai » Jun 1st, '10, 09:03

Making a cup of chai for a friend at home can be quite fun, because you can use fresh ingredients, like fresh ginger, cinnamom sticks, cloves and green cardamom pods which you can break them with a mortar and pestle.

Making a mix for someone else can be a bit tricky. You will have to find a way to be able to grind all the spices into small chunk pieces. Of all spices ginger will be the hardest to find in dry form. If you have access to a local herbal shop or if you have a large Chinatown in your area, you could adventure to find a Chinese Herbal Pharmacy where you will definitely find all the spices.

If you have no access to any of the above, you could buy all the spices in powder form, mix them in equal parts (to make your life easier) and once you have your masala mix, mix it in equal parts with Assam CTC, which is the preferred type of tea for chai as it brews a rich and dark cup that goes very well with milk and sweetener.

Mix them well and you will have your own masala mix. it may not be as good as our Original Masala Chai, but your friend will sure appreciate the effort & love you put into making it from scratch ;)

Hope this is helpful for you!

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Jun 1st, '10, 11:19
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Re: Making Authentic Masala

by geeber1 » Jun 1st, '10, 11:19

You can get the spices and tea in bulk from They don't specify if the Assam is CTC or not, though, but I'm sure you could ask. And I second Yogic Chai's Masala - it's awesome!

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