Chai 101 - Chai or Chai Tea - Which Is Correct?

Chai is a deliciously sweet and spicy brew made with black tea, aromatic spices, and milk. Originally from India, this irresistible concoction has swept across the world to become a fierce rival of coffees and hot chocolates. 


Yes! That's why its a bit of a pet peeve of ours when people call it "chai tea" because Chai actually just means tea in Hindi - so calling it chai tea is literally just saying "tea tea". 

When you hear people talking about chai, they’re typically referring to masala chai, which is the spiced, milky tea you’ve come to know and love.

Instead of being brewed with water like normal tea, chai is generally brewed with warm milk, and then sweetened to taste.

Some like to serve chai like a cafe latte and call it a "chai latte" with a decent layer of froth and cinnamon dusting. Don’t get confused here - there is no coffee in the brew. It’s still a tea.


Masala chai is generally a mix of black tea with spices, milk, and a sweetener. The most common spices include cardamom (which gives chai tea its boldest, most fragrant tone), cinnamon, ginger, and cloves for a musky flavor.

Additional spices can include bay leaves, peppercorn, star anise, turmeric, vanilla, fennel - or whatever you feel like experimenting with (at your own risk, of course)!

With our Prana Chai Original Masala Blend, you’ll find 100% black ceylon tea, cardamom, cinnamon to add sweetness and warmth, peppercorns for a bit of kick, ginger for fresh tanginess and spice, and star anise to add a dark licorice flavor.

Chai is usually steeped in warm milk. In India, it’s traditionally buffalo milk. But we usually brew it with cow's milk, and soy, almond, rice, and coconut milk make great alternatives too.

And who doesn’t love a touch of sweetness? Sugar is typically added to a chai during preparation. Prana Chai makes it even easier for you - honey is included in our blends to add an instant sweet note.

Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to these options - you could add coconut sugar or jaggery. Our Vegan Blend is made with agave syrup instead of honey.

And of course, it’s all about sweetening that heavenly brew to your tastes. We won’t judge if you want to add dollops more honey.

You can also get chai as tea bags, powders, and concentrates, but we think nothing beats the combination of all natural real tea leaves and whole spices!

Want to know more about chai blends? Learn more about our favorite cuppa today.