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How to make Chai/Chaya (Indian Tea)

Ann Ittoop
There are MANY ways to make a cup of chaya, but listed below is how I enjoy my tea. A few simple spices swirled in with loose black tea leaves with a slightly higher milk to water ratio. Sweetened with sugar and frothed at the end - that's it! You can add whatever spices you like. I usually reach for saffron, fresh minced ginger, cinnamon, or lemongrass.
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1.5 cups


  • Stainless steel pot (ideally reserved exclusively for making tea to avoid other flavors)
  • Ladled Spoon
  • Tea Strainer


  • Water, 1 cup
  • Green Cardamom Pods, 5, smashed
  • Peppercorns, 2-3, smashed
  • Loose Black Tea Leaves, 4 tsp Wagh Bakri or Tata Chakra Gold are my favorite loose CTC teas; The Chai Box and One Stripe Chai Co make some wonderful blends with spices already in it!
  • Milk, 1 1/4 cup I use 2% Lactaid milk; if using whole milk, you maybe want to reduce the amount added to about 1 cup; for dairy-free chaya, check out my dairy-free recipe
  • Sugar, 2 tsp


Boil the tea.

  • In a steel pot, bring the water, smashed cardamom, and smashed peppercorns to a boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes so the spices steep the water.
    Now add the loose black tea leaves. Let brew for about 2-3 minutes. Stir every 20-30 seconds to prevent the tea from sticking.
    Do not overboil the loose black tea leaves or it will taste bitter.

Boil the tea with milk.

  • Now pour in the milk.
    Once the milk is poured in, stir every so often. Use a ladle spoon to pour and swirl the tea leaves in the pot.
    Bring the tea to such a rumbling boil that it foams up nearly to the top of your pot.
    Just as it reaches the very top of the pot, turn the heat to medium low and let the tea rumble for another 20-30 seconds to deepen the flavor of the milk and tea.

Strain and cool.

  • Strain the tea into a large, thin-rimmed mug.
    Pour the mug of tea from a low to high height into your drinking cup to create a frothy top and cool down your tea. Done!


Keyword chai, chaya, tea