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Here's How To Actually Make The Perfect Cup Of Chai

Mmmmmm.... cardamom.

Posted on March 10, 2017, at 11:38 a.m. ET

I'm Ahmed Ali Akbar, host of BuzzFeed podcast See Something Say Something, where we drink chai, tell stories, and talk about being Muslim in America.

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed

We often serve chai to our guests, and I have high standards, so I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community for their perfect chai recipe, which we plan to serve to guests on Season 2 of the show.


I chose four recipes to test with the help of some producers and guests from the show.


I'm not much of a chef, but I do make a pretty solid basic cup. We gathered our ingredients and got to making our four drinks.


Side note, no one gave us ANY proportions, so we used the magic of guesstimation.

1. Iced Green Tea with Mint


This one was by far the easiest. It just involves steeping green tea with mint leaves at double strength and immediately letting it cool down, letting the mint and tea flavors come out extra strong.

Bim did not like it very much.

Everyone else found it pretty drinkable, but not remarkable.

Iced green tea with mint recipe:

"One thing that can be good is making the mint tea in a mason jar, pouring the hot water over and quickly stoppering the jar, leaving the tea to steep until cold, refrigerating it, mixing with cold water and pouring it over ice. The cold accentuates the taste of the mint, the jar keeps the volatile mint oils from escaping, and the added water means that the water in the tea is not as flat.

"Naturally, one brews the tea at double strength, if one intends to dilute it later."

Lakefront Journalist

2. Masala Chai with Milk


This was a pretty traditional, doodh-patti style masala chai. It comes out super milky, aromatic, and rich. It's a bit of work, but it's delicious.

The most important thing to note is that this smells fuckin' amazing.


Masala chai recipe, made doodh-patti style recipe:

Roughly bash up 4 cardamom pods, 1 stick of cinnamon, 3-4 black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.

Boil half a measure of water with about a 1 inch piece of ginger grated into it .

Once the water’s come up to a boil, add one measure of milk, along with the crushed spices and boil to infuse.

Add two tea spoons of loose leaf black tea (Assam/ Darjeeling works best) and boil for about 4 minutes till you get a nice rich chai colour.

Optional: add 2 strands of Kashmiri saffron for some ~luxe~ flavour and aroma


3. Masala Chai in a Pressure Cooker


A reader sent in this recipe because she said she wanted the spice flavor to be EXTRA strong. It's similar to the other masala chai recipe, but there's no cooking of the milk (though you can add afterwards!) and it's way more intense.

Bim really liked this one, but everyone else found it just a bit too intense.


InstantPot masala chai recipe:

I pressure-cook cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon (and sometimes black pepper and cloves) in the InstantPot for 15 minutes. Once the pressure is released, I steep loose tea in it (preferably assam) for 5 minutes, then strain all the leaves and add a bit of sugar. I make a big batch and keep it in the fridge, then reheat with a splash of milk on cold snowy days.

I like the cardamom/ginger flavor really strong, and just steeping them in boiling water does not cut it, hence this kitchen gadget nerdiness. The end product lives somewhere between real chai and Teavana® Oprah Chai Real Tea Latte, but I am as white as white can be, so I love it just the same.

Eileen Webb (via email and Twitter)

4. Ahmed's recipe— Earl Grey with Cardamom


This is actually the way I make chai for my family at home. It's super simple — you just steep black Earl Grey tea with cardamom!

Earl Grey with Cardamom recipe:

For each mug of tea you want, steep approximately one heaping teaspoon of Earl Grey and one cardamom pod. For a pot of four, you'd want four-five teaspoons and four-five cardamom pods. After about five minutes, strain the tea and drink with milk and sugar.

The InstantPot could be the future of tea making, but only Bim chose it as her favorite. Everyone else chose mine!


The winner is.... my own recipe! Honestly, I'd just like to thank my parents for making this all possible.


If you want to hang out more with Bim, Tabir, and Ahmed, subscribe to the See Something Say Something podcast by following the instructions below.

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