Do you put black pepper in chai?

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Definitely - I think that is an essential flavor in chai. Many years ago I used to buy chai from a spice place in NYC, and I first tried both the mix that had the pepper, and the one that didn't, and the one with pepper definitely tasted better. Not really hot, but the flavor was in it. Now the chai mix I make always has black pepper.
This one is good, like mine. (I don't have saffron in mine.)


  • 3 tbsp powdered turmeric preferably organic
  • 2.5 to 3 tsp ground cardamom , to flavor preference
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) saffron (6 strands) , optional
Use about 1 t of the mix in hot almond milk w/honey.
How are they the same thing?
Tea is made with tea leaves from a tea plant.
Chai is spices.
Neither of the recipes just posted by bliss have tea leaves in them.
The only similarity I can see is that they are both made with water, probably usually hot water.
That mix that blissful posted the recipe for is a recipe for turmeric tea - not what is normally added to "chai tea", which is most of those spices, but not the turmeric. And it's added to hot tea - maybe a half tsp to 2 or 3 cups of tea, and it is usually served with milk, as well. However, I usually just use the spices in iced tea, just for something different.
In English speaking countries, where we use the word tea to talk about the drink made with leaves from the plant, Camellia sinensis, we tend to think of chai as tea, the way it is made in India, with the spices. But, really, there are many languages where "chai" just means the same thing as "tea" does in English. It's not like we only call it tea when it is made with Camellia sinensis leaves. We have herbal teas and some of those don't involve leaves, e.g., chamomile tea is made with flowers, as are rosehip and hibiscus. And Constant Comment Tea has some orange rind as well as some spices. Did you have a look at the article I linked?
OK, point taken.
But for my simple way of thinking, only expressing what I grew up with - without enrolling into the lofty towers of academia - tea was a drink made with leaves of a tea plant, then along came herbal teas, which were made with herbs and flowers. Herbal teas rose in popularity (in Europe they had always been more commonly used).
Then along came Chai, a hot drink made with spices. Chai has taken off a lot faster than Coffee did (due to the Boston Tea Party of 1773).
Maybe the internet had something to do with it. ;)
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