The Origins of the Malt Chai

When I first started The Chai Cart in 2010, I offered two simple flavors: ginger and cardamom. Ginger chai was an obvious choice, as I grew up drinking it. It was the first thing I ever learned to make in the kitchen from my mom. Cardamom, another very common spice used for chai, was another obivous flavor option. It eventually evolved into, what is now, our signature Masala Chai, after customers frequently requested a spicier, “masala” chai, which led me to create my own masala blend (read my blog post). 

Eventually, I started digging deeper for more creative flavors. The Rose Chai was an accidental find; I was being creative in the kitchen and trying out many flavors. The Malt Chai, which began as an occassional off-menu item, but now a regular feature, was created out of nostalgia from my childhood days. Before the days when I was allowed to enjoy a real cup of chai, I was permitted to drink a glass of milk mixed with malt powder (remember Horlicks, anyone?). To appease my whining for chai, my mother would pour my milk into the pot with the used tea leaves from the chai she had prepared for my dad and herself. She would then strain this milk into my glass. It was a pretty convincing trick that made me think I was drinking chai, too. : ) The Malt Chai we serve at the carts evolved from those childhood memories.

If you're interested in making malt chai at home, check out the recipe here.