10 Things You Should Know
Chai is the Indian word for "tea".
In India "chai" simply means tea. But in the West it refers specifically to spiced Indian-style tea - that is, tea with traditional Indian spices and milk. This is also referred to as Masala Chai, which is more popular in India than coffee. The popularity of chai tea is spreading rapidly to the rest of the world, and has taken on some changes. In America, a sweeter, creamier variation known as a "chai latte" is often served as chai.
Tea is good for you!
There is also a growing body of evidence showing that the tea in chai has numerous health benefits. Tea polyphenols have been linked in research to increased attention and focus (Theanine), cardiovascular health, protection against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and even may have the potential to alter cancer genetics. Additionally, the spices in Chai Tea have various health benefits, and have been used for thousands of years. For details, see PRnewswire and Teausa.org.
How much caffeine is in chai, and does it affect one differently than coffee?
A typical cup of chai tea prepared as directed contains approximately 40mg of caffeine (4 oz of black tea) compared to roughly 120mg in an average cup of coffee. However, the caffeine in tea seems to work differently due to the interaction with a component of tea known as tannin, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. This causes the caffeine to be absorbed much more slowly, avoiding the caffeine "shock" and inducing a calm, relaxed yet focused state characteristic of alpha brain wave patterns. Because chai doesn't have the caffeine "shock" of coffee, you can enjoy a few extra cups. Many people find they can even have it in the evening without disturbing sleep. (If you are highly sensitive to caffeine, however, try Rooibos Chai as it is naturally caffeine free.) For a full listing of the reputed benefits of the various spices in chai, please see Chai Benefits.
Many people actually prefer the taste of chai over coffee.
Here at www.Chai-Direct.com we agree! Chai is mentally clarifying and energizing yet calming at the same time. So chai gives you a subtle "pick me up" without nervousness, jitters. And unlike standard tea, chai tea has substantially more body and flavor so it is an ideal coffee substitute. Also, unlike standard teas, chai tea tends to be stronger and bolder, enhanced by the spices. So it is a natural coffee substitute. Try chai for a week. We think you will like it! For more about chai vs. coffee, see this Chai as a Coffee Substitue.
Chai tea is better for the environment.
Water is perhaps our most precious resource, and becoming more so each day. It is estimated that over 1100 cups of water are required to produce a single cup of coffee. On the other hand, only about 1/10th of that amount of water is needed to produce a cup of tea. Read more about chai tea's positive environmental impact.
Chai is typically made with black tea, but also available with green tea, Rooibos (or red tea) and yerba mate.
Green tea has less caffeine than black tea, and larger amounts of EGCg, a powerful anti-oxidant. It was first assumed that green tea had higher health benefits, but new research is finding that the theaflavins and thearubigens of black tea actually carry similar health benefits. Rooibos is a caffeine-free variety of tea sought for its additional health benefits. It is widely believed that it is the synergistic combination of tea and spices that make chai such a beneficial and healthy drink. Yerba mate is another tea variation sought for it's additional health benefits, but it also carries a stronger, slightly bitter taste.
Commercial chai is available as a concentrate, powder mix, or in bulk loose leaf tea form.
Which is best? That depends on you. Concentrates are brewed under ideal conditions and pressures, so they often tend to taste a bit stronger, bolder and/or spicier. Dry mixes can be even more convenient, however. Bulk tea and bags must be brewed and sweetener added, so the process takes more time, but many still prefer this.
Many chai products are Fair Trade Certified.
This means the products are grown, harvested and purchased according to the rules of the Fair Trade organizations. We want you to help you make an informed decision about all aspects of the products you buy. For more information, please see Fair Trade Chai.
Many chai products are USDA Organic.
This means it is grown without chemical pesticides, fertilizers or sludge, and it is not genetically modified. For more information, see USDA Organic Chai.
Chai Direct has the largest exclusive selection of chai products anywhere!
Chai Direct carries more than 140 chai products from 26 different chai brewers, which gives you a huge variety of taste choices to explore!