What is Chai?

Chai is the Hindi word for tea. Originating from Indian culture, it is the blend of black tea with spices, which is then cooked over a flame, with water and milk. Often, sweetness is added in the form of jaggery (Indian natural sugar) or honey, which is more common in Western cultures.

I’m so confused why there are so many variations of chai, like Sticky Chai or Masala Chai or Chai Tea. Can you explain?

Of course, we are spice specialists so we can definitely help you figure this one out because there is so much misinformation and miseducation regarding this beautiful drink.

Let’s start at the basics: chai is simply the word for tea. It has many different variations in different countries: in China it is cha, in Turkey it is çay, but it simply means tea. So, we get a little giggle when we hear the term “chai tea” because you’re really saying “tea tea.” On a side note: that’s why we created our cute tote! At Chai Walli, you will hear us talk about Masala Chai. Masala is the word for spice. So our masala chai is spiced tea, which is traditionally how people in India drink their tea: it's a mix of black tea with spices and milk.

Sticky Chai is a honey-infused masala chai. We created a version of this in 2020 to offer you a sweet and easy to prepare masala chai, using gorgeous Australian honey. 

We wrote a blog explaining this in more detail, we’d love for you to have a read

So, what makes Chai Walli’s chai blends authentic?

Authenticity is what we do best! Uppma is a first generation Indian Australian women who is sharing her masala chai blends with the world! The Chai Walli blends are based on Ayurvedic teachings, which were passed down to Uppma by her Grandfather, who was an Ayurvedic doctor in Punjab, India. 

What also makes our chai blends authentic is that we grind whole spices in house, we do not add any flavours, preservatives or powders, and each batch is made by hand in our warehouse by our small and awesome team! 

What is Ayurveda?

It is one of the most ancient forms of holistic well-being which is still widely practiced in India today.

Uppma balances herbs & spices with the knowledge passed to her from her Grandfather, Dr Pritam Virdi - an Ayurvedic doctor. From him she learnt a deep understanding of Indian spices and their Ayurvedic properties.

Discover more about Ayurveda in this blog.

We have crafted a range of Ayurvedic Herbal Teas, which you can check out here

Do you do any workshops or training so I can deepen my knowledge of chai?

We love teaching authentic chai to chai lovers or just to anyone that wants to learn something new! Uppma regularly holds Art of Chai workshops in both Sydney and Melbourne. You can keep an eye on ourwebsitefor upcoming events and classes, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (**add link**)! We also have a lot of how-to videos on ourYouTube channel- which is a great place to start!

HOW TO BREW

Do you have any instructions videos I can watch to help me brew chai?

Absolutely! You can check out our handy YouTube channel here. Happy viewing!

Don’t forget though: “Chai is an exploration of yourself and your creative expression of flavours”...so feel free to play around with brewing times - if you like things stronger or weaker, or adding in extra spices.

How many spoonful's of chai do I add?

We recommend 1 heaped teaspoon per cup. For our Sticky Chai, use 2 heaped teaspoons.

How much milk is recommended?

When brewing on the stovetop, we recommend ¼ milk to ¾ water. For two serves this is 60ml milk, 180ml water.

Do I need a special pot to brew my chai on the stove top?

No, just as long as it has a sturdy handle. However we do stock some great stainless steel and non-stick pots which are specifically designed for brewing and pouring stove top chai. The stainless steel version is great for both induction and gas cooktops, however the non-stick one can only be used on gas cooktops. 

Where do I find the brewing instructions?

All of our teas comes with simple instructions on the bag. You can also view the brewing steps either on the product listings, or find it in our blogs and videos

How much sugar do I use?

That’s up to you! We love using Jaggery, which is a traditional, natural Indian sugar. Uppma likes her chai unsweetened, but others might prefer it with an extra dose of sweetness. You can also use honey. 

How do I make chai with your Sticky Chai?

There’s three ways you can use our delicious sticky chai, and we’ve created simple videos for you to follow:

On the stovetop (traditional method).

In a teapot

Using a steam wand on an espresso machine (cafe style chai ‘latte’).

PRODUCT FAQS

How much caffeine is in your chai?

All black tea contains caffeine. In fact, all tea that comes from the plant tea (which is camellia sinensis) contains caffeine. However, it is agreed that black tea contains anywhere from ½ to ¼ the amount of caffeine compared to a cup of coffee. 

Please note that the amount of caffeine present in your cup is also determined by how long you brew for, and how much tea you put in your pot. 

We also offer a great range of Caffeine Free chai blends, Ayurvedic Herbal teas and a Turmeric Latte blend - all that do not contain any caffeine.

How should I store your tea and how long does it last?

We recommend storing in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Our teas have a best before of 2 years, however they last much longer. Uppma still has her grandfather's blends from 10 years ago and it’s still fragrant and spicy.

Are all your teas organic?

We source all our tea leaves from certified organic and fair trade Indian farms - this forms the delicious base for all of our masala chai blends (excluding our Caffeine Free range). We aim to source organic herbs and spices where possible, and will continue to seek these out for our blends.

Is your tea gluten-free?

There is no gluten in teas, herbs or spices so you can be safe that they are suitable for those on a gluten free diet. We do not manufacture any products containing gluten in our warehouse. 

Is your tea vegan-friendly?

Absolutely! The only items in the Chai Walli range which are not vegan-friendly are our Sticky Chai (made with honey) and our Summer Hill honey. Even our Chai Soaps and Chai Chocolate are vegan!

Where are your products made?

We blend all out items in our Sydney, Australia warehouse. Our small team grinds our spices in house to make sure you get the freshest chai blend going around! 

What is the difference between your 11 Spice Chai and Sticky Chai?

Thanks for asking! The 11 Spice Chai is our original masala chai blend. It contains organic and fairtrade black tea along with 11 herbs and spices. It is a loose leaf tea. Our Sticky Chai uses this 11 Spice Chai as the base, and then we blend it in house with a local, Australian honey. You may also see Sticky Chai called Honey Chai, Fresh Chai or Wet Chai.

I drink chai lattes in cafes, is this the same thing?

Often the ‘chai latte’ in a cafe is made with an instant, powdered version of chai. It can contain a lot of sugars, or sometimes, artificial flavours and preservatives. We like to keep things authentic and natural, so our chai may taste a little different to what you’ve had in cafes. We invite you to try authentic chai - once you get a taste for it, we think you’ll never go back! You should also let your local cafe know that we sell our chai to many cafes and restaurants ;-) 

SHIPPING AND ACCOUNTS

When do you send out online orders?

Our small team in our Sydney warehouse send out your orders twice a week. You will receive an email once your order has been collected by the courier.

How long does it take for shipping to arrive?

Domestic: This depends on your location, however for most metro locations it is between 2-4 business days, and 3-8 business days for more rural areas. If you would like to know a more exact idea please contact us at hello@chaiwalli.com.au.

International: Because we ship to many parts of the world, it’s best to send us an email at hello@chaiwalli.com.au if you would like to know the suggested delivery time for your region.

How much does shipping cost?

Domestic: We offer free shipping for any orders over $100. Alternatively, shipping is based on the weight of your order and your location. We use a program to calculate the cost of shipping once you get to checkout on our website. This means you can be rest assured that we are only charging you what we get charged, and not putting a flat-rate on all orders in order to make a profit from your delivery dollars! 

International: International shipping starts at $10, however our program will calculate your shipping cost at checkout, based on your order and location.

Can I add a special note to my order if it’s a gift?

We love it when you do that! If you choose Gift Wrapping from our online store, you can then add in a note at the cart page. You will find an area there to type it in. We will gift wrap your order beautifully and hand write your love note for you!

What is your returns policy?

We can only offer a return or exchange on a product if it is delivered damaged or it is not the item that you ordered (as per your invoice). We cannot offer a return if you simply change your mind. 

When can I pick up my order for click and collect?

We offer the chance for our local customers to collect from our warehouse in Summer Hill, NSW. Please choose local pick up from the shipping options. Note: we will send you an email once your order is ready to collect. Please do not visit us before you receive this email as the order may not be ready yet. 

WHOLESALE

Do you sell your products to cafes, restaurants and retailers?

Absolutely! We love working with our wholesale customers. Please send us a note through this contact form and we will get in touch!

What are your wholesale terms?

All wholesale terms and conditions will be discussed with you once we find out more about you and your business.

Do you wholesale internationally?

We would love to! Please do get in touch, as anything is possible. However, unfortunately freight costs from Australia to other regions can be quite expensive and often this is an issue. We certainly look forward to sharing our Chai Walli love with as many chai lovers in the world as possible, so let’s chat!

Do you sell your products in bulk for cafes, restaurants and bulk food stores?

Absolutely! Contact us at hello@chaiwalli.com.au to discuss further.

EVENTS

Can I have a chai bar at my wedding or event?

Absolutely! Send us an email via our contact form to get started. We have served chai at glorious big weddings, yoga retreats, community events, corporate functions and even people’s birthday parties! We can work with you to cater for the kind of set up and involvement you need! 

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to get in touch! Email us: hello@chaiwalli.com.au