What is Sticky Chai?

What is Sticky Chai?

For once and for all, let's sort this out.

Sticky chai is not a traditional or authentic form of masala chai. Masala chai (which translates to spices and tea) is a combination of spices mixed with a black tea. Traditionally this tea is a granulated CTC (crush tear curl) form of tea leaf that is specifically cultivated to blend with spices.

Sticky chai is something that has been created in Western countries and is by no means an ancient Indian sacred drink. Every different manufacturer of sticky chai has a slightly different way of making it. Some dry roast the spices before adding tea and a sweetener to it. Some heat it with honey, others add a ginger syrup to it. There are a lot of different variations. 

Sticky chai was created in order to make life easier for barista's in making chai. As it contains the tea, the spices and the sweetener that has been mixed together to create a lovely but spiced and sweet drink. It is sticky due a liquid sweetener like honey, agave syrup, maple syrup or coconut nectar added to it. 

There's no denying it is delicious, but it's important to know what it is as we get asked a lot about what the different types of chai are. From dry chai to syrup to sticky, there's a lot of misinformation out there about what is traditional.

As an actual Indian person who grew up on chai and has a grandfather who was a spice doctor (an Ayurvedic doctor) who formulated his own Ayurvedic medicinal chai blends, I think we have a lot of credibility to explain what this humble beverage is. My DNA is rooted in spices.

What is traditional real Indian chai? It is dry and it is made with various different spices that are crushed with a mortar and pestle and mixed with black tea. It can had with or without the tea. It is traditionally cooked on the stove in a saucepan with water and milk. Brought to a boil several times with a sweetener like jaggery added to it.

Okay, now what is sticky chai? The sticky chai we make is our 11 Spice Chai blended with honey.

Why do we make sticky chai? Most cafe's in Australia are not set up to make traditional stove top Indian masala chai. So to assist the cafes in the brewing process we created our sticky chai to streamline the process.

Does it taste like the real thing? It will taste really nice, we have a lot of amazing reviews about our sticky chai. But it is not the traditional taste of chai as it isn't made the authentic way. 

How is it made? Two spoonfuls are added to a milk jug, hot water is added to brew it for a couple of minutes, milk is added and then it is heated with the steam wand of a coffee machine. We would call this a chai latte and the result is a comforting and indulgent beverage perfect for cozy moments.

We are educators and makers of the most awarded speciality masala chai. We take our chai really seriously and we love all types of chai (which taste great). We love producing the traditional masala chai and we also love making our sticky chai. 

But we want people to be informed and educated on the different types of chai that exists. Only when we know why and how, can we understand and appreciate more about that thing.

Links to some great chai:

11 Spice Chai

Golden Chai

Sticky Chai

Attend one of our Art of Chai Workshops:


In Person in our Melbourne Studios

Enjoy the reviews from our sticky chai customers below!

best sticky chai ever

best sticky chai ever
best sticky chai ever
best sticky chai ever


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