Masala chai food photography and styling
The Proper Milk You Should Be Using When Making Chai
By Haldan Kirsch
While it can still be an adventurous culinary experience to sample a chai masala from an Indian chaiwallah (tea vendor), this frothy spice-filled drink has become a common international drink that can be found at your local neighborhood cafe. There are many ways to brew this flavorful drink at home, but the key to getting it right is using the proper milk.
Whole milk is the milk of choice when brewing chai masala because the flavor compounds and oil in the spices will bond with the high fat in the milk, creating a more robust flavor during the brewing process. Whole milk’s high protein also allows it to foam and froth fairly easily, making it the best milk for frothing at home.
While whole milk is the preferred beverage for frothing a masala chai, the rich flavors in vegan and lactose-intolerant options like almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk can also complement the flavors already found in a masala chai. If you don’t mind moving further away from chai masala’s traditional taste, soy and hemp milk will bring a more earthy flavor.