While traditionally chai refers to masala chai, which uses black tea as a base, today, we would like to introduce something more nuanced. That’s right! Chai green tea. But what exactly is chai green tea? And where can you get some?
What is chai green tea?
Chai green tea is one of two things. Masala chai but prepared with green tea leaves or bags instead of the traditional black tea. Or Masala chai made with matcha powder.
While this difference may sound subtle, it can yield some different results in terms of consistency, taste, and even health benefits.
Chai was first developed as an Ayurveda, or Indian Traditional Medicine, health tonic. The initial version of masala chai actually contained no “chai” (the Hindi word for “tea“) at all!
It wasn’t until many later centuries that black tea was brewed along with the other Indian spices. The addition of green tea is actually also found in the Kashmiri regional variations of masala chai. This drink is known as Kahwah in Kashmir and tends to err more on the sweet side with the addition of saffron and nuts.
But masala chai featuring whole green tea or matcha seems to be a more recent iteration of this classic beverage. The recipe for masala chai can include cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, nutmeg, black peppercorn, cardamom, ginger, honey, vanilla, sugar, and various other spices and herbs. Many Western adaptations tend to go sweeter rather than the traditional spicy and herbal that is made in India.
Benefits of chai green tea
Masala chai is a beverage loaded with herbs and spices, all hosting scores of health-enhancing effects, in particular, that lovely ginger root! No wonder it was first developed as a health tonic before becoming a more recreational drink!
- The green tea provides caffeine, with matcha providing a more concentrated dosage.
- The many herbs, spices, and green tea contain lots of antioxidants.
- It can potentially reduce the risks of developing certain types of cancer.
- The many herbs, spices, and green tea can reduce inflammation and boost our immune systems.
- Assists in digestion.
- It has heart-protecting properties from the tea and the many other spices.
- The black peppercorn assists our bodies in absorbing nutrients.
- Ginger can aid in reducing muscle soreness and cramps.
- It can reduce bad cholesterol.
Does chai green tea have caffeine?
Yes! And depending on whether one has chosen whole leaf or matcha, your caffeine experience may differ. Because matcha is the entirety of the green tea leaf, we can absorb more amplified amounts of caffeine than in whole leaf tea. For more caffeine, opt for matcha, but for those with caffeine sensitivity, stick to the whole leaf.
Does Starbucks offer a chai green tea latte?
Unfortunately, as of now, this is not an official menu item. Through certain fan sites do offer a handy guide to prepare one with some creativity on your part! Starbucks does offer a standard masala chai in a few different forms as well as a green tea latte sporting some matcha.
Chai green tea recipe
Now for the fun part! Let’s make our own chai green tea! Since Starbucks currently doesn’t have one on their menu yet, we can be a little resourceful at home and brew one up ourselves. It’s healthy, tasty, and fun!
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups of water
- 3 green tea bags. Feel free to swap out bags for whole leaves or matcha powder
- 1 cup of whole, soy or almond milk
- 2-3 whole cloves
- 5-6 cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 1/2 a teaspoon of ground or sliced ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of peppercorns, ground or whole
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- A saucepan
- Sugar is optional for added sweetness!
What to do:
- First, add the water and all your spices and herbs into the saucepan.
- Next, bring the water to a boil before turning the heat down to simmer the mix for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Then, add in your whole leaves or tea bags and let them steep with the herbs for 10 minutes. If you are choosing to use matcha instead, then whip your matcha in a bowl separately with less water, so it is thicker. After whisking your matcha, wait to pour it in at the end!
- Then, add your milk and honey. For lighter chai, add a bit more water, and for thicker, add in more milk. Bring the whole mixture to a simmer again.
- Finally, strain and serve. Though straining can be optional if you don’t mind some “crunchier” bits, that is! For our matcha-whisking friends, this is the part you add the thick, frothed, and thoroughly whisked matcha concentrate.
The only thing left is to sit back, grab a good book, or throw on a great movie and enjoy your expertly crafted chai green tea! Cheers to you and the wonderful world of tea.