Dating back anywhere between 5,000 and 9,000 years, chai tea has been a staple of Indian food culture for millennia. No average brew, it has a rich, spiced flavor (resulting from things like cinnamon, ginger and cloves) and accompanying aroma that are beyond soothing. This, coupled with its creamy and sometimes frothed texture when combined with milk, is precisely what has led to its growing global popularity.
But not every batch is made equal. Most of what people consume commercially today is world’s away from the original beverage. Ditto for the quality. And who wants to invest in a tin of subpart tea? Not us.
Though it’s a tall task, we’ve taken the liberty of sifting through all the chai teas available on Amazon and curating a list of our top four favorites. Pick any one of them to help you unwind in the evening or calm a sore throat when you’re feeling under the weather or for no reason at all.
1. VAHDAM India’s Original Masala Loose Leaf Chai Tea
Vahdam’s tea is the real deal. Based in India, the company is steeped in its homeland’s traditional brew and uses only the best cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper spices to season its black tea leaves. Packed and vacuum-sealed within 24 to 72 hours of being harvested, the tea leaves are then placed inside an opaque green bag so they are protected from light as well as air. Additionally, the company employs fair trade practices and carefully vets its supply chain to ensure that not only is the tea quality top-notch, but the workers involved in its production are treated well, too.
2. Twinings of London Chai Tea
Twinings has been in business for hundreds of years and it knows a thing or two about tea. Made from natural ingredients, this pack of six boxes (each one containing 20 individual bags) is a rich blend of black tea and premium spices that give it an authentic flavor and rich body. Blended with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, it’s a soothing treat when you’re feeling under the weather but is also perfect for those times you want to curl up with a good book. Allow each tea bag to steep for a few minutes so you can experience the maximum amount of flavor.
3. Taylors of Harrogate Classic Chai Tea
Taylors is an official supplier of tea to England’s Prince Phillip and that should tell you everything you need to know about its superb quality. Over its more than 200 years in business, the label has developed special relationships with growers to get the very best tea leaves available and has incorporated them into this unique blend. Though its flavor profile stays true to the original Indian style, it also features some ingredients from Assam and East Africa that lend it a little something extra. This one box comes with 20 individual tea bags making it a good entry to the category before investing in larger quantities.
4. Stash Tea Double Spice Chai Black Tea
Perfect for those drinkers in need of a little more oomph, this dynamic blend by Stash has more spices for more flavor. But otherwise, it keeps things pretty classic when it comes to ingredients so it should satisfy even the purists among us. The brand thinks this particular chai is delicious hot but just as good served over ice and we agree. Coming with a pack of six boxes, each one contains 18 tea bags wrapped in foil to preserve as much freshness as possible. That’s of added importance given the volatile nature of natural spices, of which it has many.