As the weather cools down, warming up with a steamy cup of chai green tea can be a comforting ritual. This aromatic beverage artfully blends the grassy vegetal taste of green tea with an array of spices. Read on to learn about chai green tea’s origins, subtle flavors, and potential health benefits.
Imagine coming inside from the cold to the welcoming aroma of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves simmering on the stove. You pour a cup of fragrant chai green tea, warming your hands and sipping carefully. The symphony of spices mingles with the vegetal green tea, transporting you and cozying you up from the inside out.
While traditional chai tea hails from India, modern chai green tea combines the best of chai spices with the many benefits of green tea. This happy marriage balances the sweet, spicy, and creamy taste of chai with green tea’s delicate grassy flavor. Chai green tea has risen in popularity in recent decades as more people discover its comforting, energizing, and healthy properties.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how chai green tea merges green tea and chai spices into a soothing wintertime drink with an impressive nutritional profile. Read on to become a chai green tea connoisseur.
What is Chai Tea?
Chai tea refers to the spiced tea beverage originally from India also known as masala chai. The name comes from the Hindi word for tea, “chai.” Traditional chai tea features a blend of warming spices like:
- Cardamom – Imparts fragrance, sweetness
- Cinnamon – Adds sweetness and bold kick
- Cloves – Provides a subtly spicy flavor
- Ginger – Gives a peppery bite, aids digestion
- Black pepper – Creates a subtle heat
- Star anise – Licorice-like flavor
Other spices like fennel, coriander, and nutmeg may also be included in some chai tea blends. The spices are simmered together in hot water or milk before being strained and enjoyed.
The flavor profile of chai tea is most often described as sweet, spicy, bold, and creamy, with a warming effect that’s comforting on chilly days. Chai tea is traditionally made by brewing black tea leaves with the spices, but all types of tea can be “chai-ified” with the addition of the signature spice blend.
What is Green Tea?
Unlike chai’s black tea base, green tea hails originally from China. It differs from other true teas in that the tea leaves are not allowed to oxidize much after harvest before heating.
Green tea leaves are either pan-fired or steamed, which deactivates the enzymes and preserves the green color and delicate, grassy flavor that green tea is prized for.
Some of the most popular variety of green teas include:
- Sencha – Most common unsmoked Japanese green tea
- Gunpowder – Chinese green tea rolled into pellet shapes
- Matcha – Finely ground Japanese green tea powder
- Jasmine – Blended with jasmine flowers
- Genmaicha – Blended with toasted rice
Green tea is renowned for its high antioxidant content from compounds like EGCG that provide numerous science-backed health benefits. From cancer prevention and brain health to immune support and heart disease protection, sipping green tea has many advantages.
It’s most often prepared by steeping the tea leaves or matcha powder in hot – but not boiling – water for 1-3 minutes. The optimal brewing temperature is 160°F to 180°F. This method allows the delicate flavors to unfold.
Introducing Chai Green Tea
Chai green tea combines the crisp, grassy flavor of green tea with an aromatic chai spice blend for a soothing, rejuvenating sip. While traditional chai tea uses black tea as its base, chai green tea allows the green tea flavor to take the spotlight, accentuated by ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and other warming spices.
Chai green tea recipes call for green tea leaves or matcha powder brewed together with various combinations of traditional Indian chai spices. The quantity of spices can be adjusted to preference, from just a hint to bolder spice influence.
The result is a fragrant, spicy green tea with more delicate flavor than traditional creamy chai tea. Chai green tea has risen in popularity in recent decades as more people discover they can enjoy the benefits of green tea alongside delicious chai spice notes in one comforting cup.
Potential Health Benefits of Chai Green Tea
Beyond its appealing taste, chai green tea boasts an impressive list of potential wellness benefits when enjoyed regularly:
Green tea provides antioxidant EGCG that protects cells against damage that can lead to chronic diseases.
Compounds in both green tea and chai spices like ginger, cloves, and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve pain.
Supports Heart Health
Antioxidants may boost heart health by improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood vessel function.
Ginger, cardamom and black pepper in chai spices relieve gas, bloating, stomach pain and improve digestion.
Antioxidants and antimicrobial properties of the spices help strengthen the immune system to fight illness.
Animal studies indicate the antioxidants in green tea and chai spices may protect the liver from toxicity and damage.
Compounds like L-theanine in green tea boost alpha brain waves to aid focus and cognition.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Polyphenols may aid in glycemic control and improve insulin sensitivity.
The caffeine in green tea plus spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom may boost metabolism and fat burning.
So sipping chai green tea offers the health advantages of green tea along with the additional benefits of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant-packed chai spices.
How to Make Chai Green Tea
Brewing a steaming cup of chai green tea at home is simple. Follow these steps:
- Green tea leaves or matcha powder
- Chai spices like cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, ginger root, star anise
- Milk or non-dairy milk
- Sweetener like honey, maple syrup or agave
- Teapot, tea infuser, tea strainer
- Measure out green tea leaves into a teapot or tea infuser. Add desired chai spices.
- Pour freshly boiled water over tea leaf and spice mixture. Steep for 3-5 minutes.
- While steeping, gently heat up milk of choice on the stove or in the microwave. Add sweetener to taste and stir until dissolved.
- After steeping, strain the chai green tea concentrate into mugs.
- Add warmed, sweetened milk to the mug to blend. Adjust ingredient ratios if needed.
Tips for Best Results:
- Grind whole spices like cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods to release more essential oils and flavor.
- Use whole dairy milk or a creamy non-dairy milk alternative like coconut or almond milk.
- Sweeten to your taste preference with honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweetener.
- Customize the chai spices based on your flavor preferences. Start with small amounts and add more of what you enjoy.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Chai Green Tea
Chai green tea’s blend of spices and green tea makes a versatile ingredient for hot and cold beverages, baked goods, marinades, and more:
- Drink it traditionally mixed with warm milk and honey or sugar.
- Make a chai green tea latte topped with foamed milk.
- Pour over ice for refreshing iced chai green tea.
- Use matcha powder as the green tea base for chai matcha green tea.
- Blend with banana, ice, and honey or agave into a sweet chai green tea smoothie.
- Add extra spices like nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin for a pumpkin chai green tea.
- Bake chai green tea muffins, cookies or granola bars using the spice mix.
- Use as a rub or marinade for salmon, chicken or lentils.
- Substitute chai green tea as the tea base when making chai tea recipes.
The options are endless when using flavorful chai green tea in drinks, meals, and sweets!
Where to Buy Chai Green Tea
Don’t want to blend your own from scratch? Look for premade chai green tea bags or loose leaf blends at:
- Grocery store tea aisles – Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings and other brands sell chai green tea bags.
- Coffee shops like Starbucks often sell chai green tea bags along with traditional chai tea.
- Online tea retailers – Harney & Sons, Vahdam and Adagio Teas have various chai green tea products.
- Tea shops and specialty stores – David’s Tea, Argo Tea, Teavana and local tea shops may carry chai green tea blends.
- Purchase a chai green tea blend kit – Companies like Tea Forte and Art of Tea sell pre-portioned blends.
- DIY at home – Buy loose green tea like sencha and mix with ground cinnamon, cardamom and your favorite spices.
Warm your spirit and delight your senses with the enticing blend of green tea and aromatic chai spices found in chai green tea. With origins from India and China, chai green tea merges green tea’s grassy flavor and antioxidants with the comforting sweet-spicy taste of traditional chai. Sip this nourishing beverage to boost immunity, calm digestion, lift your mood and more. Try making chai green tea from scratch or find a premade blend to incorporate into your routine.