I conceived of this post as a starting point for all of you who love chai, that spicy and fragrant milky tea drunk across most of India and much of east Africa. I wanted to show you the five essential spices that, once procured, will help you make a delicious cup of spicy tea. But then I ran into difficulties. Chai comes in so many forms and flavors — I think I might start a minor tea war here if I prescribed only five spices.
So here then is a more free-flowing guide, with my own personal five favorites, other excellent choices, and the one absolutely essential spice for making chai that tastes like chai.