Loose Leaf Chai
Spicy, Warming, Welcoming Tea Blends
To Start, What Is Loose Leaf Chai Tea?
Technically… “chai tea” means “tea tea.” (This is because the word for tea is chai or cha in many Asian and Middle Eastern languages.)
Usually, here in the US, when we say “chai tea” or “chai latte,” we mean masala chai, a popular drink in India. There are lots of different variations of masala chai, but generally, they consist of strong black tea blended with spices like ginger and cardamom, plus milk and sugar. Depending on the recipe, other spices may include cinnamon, fennel, peppercorns, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, chili, or coriander.
Where Did Chai Come From?
Originally, China had a monopoly on tea. The British, finding themselves quite enamored with the delicious beverage, were uncomfortable being dependent on their Chinese trading partners. As a result, in 1848, the British East India Company hired Scottish botanist and adventurer Robert Fortune to smuggle tea plants out of China, for cultivation in India. (For more on this story, we recommend For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose).
Between Fortune’s successful mission and the discovery of native tea plants already in India, the Indian tea industry eventually flourished. However, most of the tea only made it into teacups outside of India.
The British-owned India Tea Association saw the opportunity, and they began a campaign in the early 20th century to encourage tea-drinking within India. This campaign encouraged factories, mills, and mines to provide their wrkers with tea breaks. Additionally, the India Tea Association supported many independent chai wallahs, or the people who prepare and sell tea on the street or in small roadside stands.
Despite the “official” promotion of British-style tea (black tea with a little sugar and milk), the Indian chai wallahs put their own spin on tea, boiling it with spice mixtures, some of which originated in Ayurvedic medicine. Although each chai wallah and every family has their own special recipe, the general concept of sweet, spicy masala chai is now firmly entrenched in the culture.
Please scroll down to read more about CommuniTea Center’s loose leaf chai blends!
(O) = contains 95% or more organic ingredients
Loose Leaf Chai: Black Tea Blends
Chai Delight (O)– $4 sample/$12 2oz
This is CommuniTea Center’s recipe for a classic masala chai. To start, we have a Darjeeling tea base, then add yummy spices. This includes ginger, of course, plus cinnamon and cardamom. We also sweeten the deal with some real vanilla bean pieces.
Overall, the result is simply delightful… hence the name, “Chai Delight”!
Cocoa-Coco Chai (O)– $4 sample/$12 2oz
Masala chai—Florida style! We start with a black tea base, and then add traditional masala chai spices like cinnamon and clove. Then we take our chai in a new and exciting direction: A chocolatey twist, with a little coconut, too!
The result is spicy, sweet, earthy… and relish!
Loose Leaf Chai: Green Tea Blend
Mo’ Rockin’ Minty Chai (O)– $3 sample/$10 2oz
Inspired by traditional recipes for Moroccan Mint green tea, “Mo’ Rockin’ Minty Chai” includes green tea and peppermint leaves. But what makes it really special is the addition of classic chai spices like cardamom, ginger, and clove.
This tea can be infused like a regular tea, boiled with milk like Masala Chai, or boiled with sugar and water in the North African custom.
Loose Leaf Chai: Thera-TeaTM Wellness Blend
Holy Chai (O)– $4 sample/$12 2oz
“Holy Chai” got its name because it’s so yummy, the Heavens open and a chorus of angels sings “Hallelujah” when you sip it. Or wait, maybe it’s because it’s made with holy basil, so it’s naturally caffeine-free? Well, it’s one of those… 😉
In addition to the tulsi (holy basil), we also add cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg. The result is a yummy, sweet and spicy tea experience.