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What is Karak Chai? All You Need to Know

What is Karak Chai? All You Need to Know

Are you a traditional chai enthusiast? Perhaps you have tried the popular Karak chai or have heard about it before. So, what is Karak Chai, and why should you care? Read on to learn more about Karak chai recipes, benefits, where to buy, etc.  

There are different types and recipes of chai enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Karak chai happens to be one of the popular and easy-to-prepare types, often requiring few and readily available ingredients. 

So what is Karak chai, what are its benefits, and why should you consider adding it to your list of favorite chai alternatives? We have discussed these and more, including the different Karak chai recipes, Karak chai origin, where to buy key ingredients, and everything in between.   

Karak Chai vs. Masala/Chai  

Many people use the terms Karak chai and Masala chai interchangeably. And while the two have a lot in common, they are two different chai options. Before we make any differences, it’s worth getting the two terms right.  

What is Karak Chai Made Of? 

Karak chai originated from India though some middle eastern countries also lay claim to the origin of this specific style. The name roughly translates to “strong tea.” It’s made of black tea, milk, and spices like cardamom and ginger. Depending on your taste and preferences, you can use different ingredients to make your Karak chai. These include specialty black tea, pepper, honey, star anise, saffron, and various spices. 

Differences between Karak Chai and Masala/Chai 

So you may ask, is Karak tea the same as Chai? The answer is no. Karak tea is flavorful and has a much stronger caramel color than regular chai. However, it’s less flavored than the typical masala tea.  

You can think of Karak chai as a chai somewhere between ordinary chai (Plain tea)  and masala chai (Spicy Tea) . While the latter usually have cinnamon, peppercorns, and a blend of different whole spices, etc., Karak chai will only have two or three spices.  

That said, many people still refer to Karak chai as masala chai or simply Karak masala chai. This can be confusing, but once you understand that the main difference lies with the flavor and the number of spices used, you’ll have a better use of these terminologies. 

Benefits of Karak Chai 

Like any other chai, Karak chai comes with several health benefits. To better understand the benefits of Karak Chai, we will highlight the key benefits of the main Karak ingredients 

The black tea used to make Karak tea, for instance, has antioxidant properties, thanks to specific compounds such as polyphenols that help reduce inflammation in the human body. Flavonoids found in tea have also been shown to improve heart health, and several studies have linked black tea to a reduced risk of stroke and improved gut health.

The spices used in Karak chai, such as ginger and cardamom, have antibacterial properties, which help prevent digestive problems. Additionally, ginger is anti-inflammatory and aids digestion since it improves oxygen circulation in the major digestive organs. On the other hand, cardamom is a popular source of vitamin C and has been used in Tibetan medicine for centuries. 

Karak Chai Recipes

When it comes to Karak chai recipes, you can always pick your favorite ingredients to create the perfect morning, evening, or late night chai drink. As noted earlier, the typical Karak tea has a limited number of spices, but some still choose to go beyond this limitation. We have highlighted two Karak recipes below. 

Karak Chai Latte


  • One cup of water.

  • One tablespoon of honey.

  • One teaspoon of high quality loose leaf Black tea.

  • 1/4 cup of milk.

  • ¼ inch cinnamon stick

  • one pod black cardamom.


  • Heat water until bubbles begins to form on the edges of the saucepan.

  • Add Black tea and let it simmer for less than a minute.

  • Crush the cinnamon stick or cardamom pod in a mortar, put them into the pot and stir. 

  • Simmer for 2 minutes until the mixture is saturated, then add honey and simmer for one more minute. 

  • Add milk, stir and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until tea reaches the desired strength.

  • Strain the mixture and serve it while hot. 


Alternatively, you can crush the spices and add them to the water once it boils. You’ll then add the Monk’s chai, milk, and honey/sugar, then simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. To get a perfect Karak Chai Latte, boil until the mixture is almost frothing over the top, then stir and lower the heat to allow the froth to settle. If you are health-conscious, plant-based milk options and natural sugar are your best pick.

Karak Monk’s Chai mix 


  • One cup of water.

  • One tablespoon of honey.

  • One teaspoon of Monk’s Chai.

  • ¼ cup of milk of evaporated milk.

  • 1/8 inch of fresh ginger.

  • 1/8 inch of cinnamon stick.

  • One dried rosebud.

  • One pod green cardamom.

  • One pod black cardamom. 


  • Crush all the ingredients in a mortar until they are of a finer size.

  • Heat water in a saucepan until it begins to boil.

  • Add the Monk’s Chai to the saucepan and stir, then let it simmer for one minute. 

  • Add the crushed ingredients and let it simmer for 3 minutes, then add honey and simmer for an additional minute.

  • Add evaporated milk, stir and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes as you watch the strength of the tea and ingredients.

  • Strain the tea and serve it while hot. 

See more: Dirty chai

    How Do You Make Karak Chai?     

    Making Karak tea is simple and straightforward. If you know how to make a cup of tea, then you can use the same directions to prepare your favorite Karak chai recipe. The only difference is the type and number of Karak tea ingredients you will use. Otherwise, the procedures are quite similar.

    Where to Buy Karak Chai Ingredients  

    If you want to buy the best Karak chai ingredients, you should get them from reputed shops that offer tea ingredients and spices. Most ingredients like cardamom and cinnamon are available in grocery stores. We like South Asian and Asian Grocery stores the best. 

    However, you should keenly choose your black tea options as this is the main ingredient in your Karak Chai. One option is our Monk’s Chai specialty tea, which is 100% organic and sourced from sustainable farmers from India, Mexico, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Jamaica. You can get our Monk’s organic specialty chai blend at our official shop. 


    Karak Chai is a popular drink in several countries and regions including the Middle East and Asian countries. People in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have a particularly well known taste for this variety. Even western countries with strong Asian influences like Britain enjoy this variety of chai. Whether you like your Karak chai with spices or with a thick and frothy taste, the recipes we’ve highlighted above will come in handy for the chai curious.

    See more: What is sticky chai?

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