The Science of Chai☕

December 4, 2020

Yes, that’s right – I’ve just made quite a bold statement that there is a science to the perfect cup of chai, bear with me. Notice I said chai and not tea, that’s because the humble English breakfast tea cannot compare with chai - a drink of rich culture, beauty and pure happiness. 

To you, chai might be  چائے, شاي  shaah, or even chaa - but regardless of the name, it is truly something that transcends borders and sometimes even continents. With chai being a staple at most ISoc events, we want to equip you with the know-how on a fantastic, fool-proof cup of chai from the comfort of your own homes – for your parents, for those long days of zoom lectures, or even before the weekly story night ;)

For the ingredients, you will need:

-   Water

-   Tea Bags (PG TIPS are elite but we’ll let Yorkshire tea slide)

-   Sugar or any other sweetener of your choice

-   Chai Masala (because as students we can’t be dealing with the hassle of using whole spices)

-   Cardamom (Elichi) Powder

-   Milk (full fat of course, but semi skimmed is calm too – PSA: RED TOPPED MILK SHOULD BE ILLEGAL - FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY NEVER USE IT)

-   Mint/ginger (optional)


-   Mug

-   Saucepan

-   Tea Strainer

[This recipe serves 2]

Step 1: In your mug of choice, measure out a full mug of cold water from the tap ? (or filtered water if you’re boujee like that), pour into a saucepan at medium high heat with half a teaspoon of chai masala and half a teaspoon of cardamom powder – bring to boil [just as you would water for pasta].

Step 2: Add sugar (for me it would be 1 and a half teaspoons – controversial, I know) and add the tea bag when you see bubbles in the water but a roaring boil hasn’t been reached.

Step 3: Allow the tea to infuse in the water and spices, when a roaring boil happens, put your hob on medium heat.

Step 4: Add a mug’s worth of milk ? into the pan and let it simmer on low for about 3 mins.

Note: If you are Libyan ?? and reading this, please add evaporated milk!

Note two: To my Somali ?? people out there, don’t forget to add nido milk powder, your Hooyo will be proud insh’Allah!

Step 5: Crank up the heat to medium, it will eventually start bubbling and rising, when this happens, QUICKLY put the heat on low (spilt chai you’ll definitely cry over)

Step 6: Add mint or a small bit of peeled ginger (it’s especially nice in winter❄️), if you’re too excited you can skip this step and strain your tea into a mug - ready to drink (remember to say bismillah).

I hope all of you guys try this at least once, let me know what you think ?in the comments below, tag your stories with @manchesterisoc so we can assemble our chai family and put these local chai shops to the test! Most importantly, do share your own chai recipes in the comments below and see if you one-up us. We’d love to hear them :)