Let’s be real for a moment. I don’t always make myself a cup of masala chai from scratch. While I do know that it’s incredibly satisfying and delicious to drink a warm cuppa that I know was made entirely by me, there are many days I just want to use a tea that is already blended for my convenience. There is no doubt that I love masala chai. It’s always a favourite when the colder seasons arrive whether I prepare it traditionally, bake with it, or even steep it into my hot chocolate for an extra tasty treat. I even named my cat Chai because of my love for it! So when I’m feeling like a quicker but still delightful and flavourful cup, I reach for one of my favourite and best chai brands.
Most masala chai consist of the same spices with a black tea base (usually Assam tea) but what can make the taste different is the ratio of each. Quality is another key thing that makes a huge difference in the taste of a masala chai. For me, I have never found a masala chai tea bag that I would consider one of the best chai brands out there. Perhaps if it were a higher quality tea bag and actually filled with whole leaves and ingredients, but I still have always found the best cup of masala chai coming from loose leaf with whole, real and fresh ingredients when possible. I once ordered a chai latte at a cafe, excited to see it on the menu, only to be disappointed when I was handed a mug of steamed milk with just a generic chai tea bag in it. Needless to say, I did not head back there for a chai latte again, and, since then, I have been pretty picky with ordering chai lattes at cafes unless I know the chai brand being used in advance.
I’ve tried several different masala chai blends from various tea companies over the past few years but I always find myself coming back to five favourites. These five are all handcrafted and from tea companies that deserve the spotlight. Three on the list (plus the bonus brand at the end) happen to be Canadian brands, too! I wanted to keep this list with the best chai brands that offer traditional, and most authentic masala chai. But, I did include a bonus recommendation at the end (so total of 6 best chai brands!) that is a bit unique but equally delicious. In no particular order, if you’re looking for a wonderful masala chai blend, here are the best chai brands I recommend.
Best Chai Brands I Recommend
1. Beginner’s Luck Masala Chai from Victoria Road Chai Co. (formerly known as The Chai Palace)
I’ve had the great opportunity to try other chai blends that the owner, Reema, hand crafts herself but her Beginner’s Luck Masala Chai is the one I’m always recommending. This one is a lot more mild than the other masala chai that are on this list. As the name states itself, this chai blend is great for those who are just beginning their masala chai journey because it is not too strong with the traditional spices. But, at the same time, it doesn’t fail to deliver in flavour! It is a really nice blend to ease you into spicier teas like masala chai. Victoria Road Chai Co. is the place for all things chai, so I would definitely recommend checking out all of the other handcrafted chai blends on their website, too.
Ingredients: Assam Black tea, Cardamom, Cloves, Ginger, Cinnamon, Black Pepper
Price: $7.50 for 50 grams
Ships: Canada only (for the time being)
2. Original Masala Chai from Chai Wala
I first sampled this masala chai when I participated in the Toronto Tea Festival’s Tea Taster Box. I actually wasn’t crazy for it right away (silly me!). However, at the 2016 Toronto Tea Festival I came across Chai Wala’s booth because of their incredible energy and they were sampling their masala chai with soy milk. I’m really glad I stopped to try it because my opinion instantly changed. The second time around was different. I loved being able to see all of the fresh ingredients Chai Wala used to blend their masala chai and there is no doubt about the freshness when you take that first sip. I’m not a huge fan of fennel and that turned me off the first time, but the fresh ginger root and true cinnamon stood out the most for me and made it oh so delicious! One of my best friends, who isn’t usually a tea drinker, actually loved it so much that she bought herself some to take and recreate at home, too. They also offer a rooibos masala chai that is blended with coconut nectar so that it is vegan friendly.
Ingredients: Assam Black tea, Fresh ginger root, Freshly ground spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, bay leaves and Canadian certified organic honey
Price: $24.95 for 200 grams
3. Spicy Honey Chai from Blue Hour Tea
Another “sticky chai” on this list, but, in my opinion, this one is a bit spicier and perfect for those who like an extra little kick. This is another chai I first tried at the Toronto Tea Festival. My first sip thought was that it was definitely true to its name! I’m not a super big fan of spicy things, but it wasn’t unbearable — just the perfect kick of spice. The raw honey that coated the tea leaves and spices played a big role in delivering the spices gently with each sip. What stood out the most for me in this masala chai was the black pepper and the assam black tea. I really appreciate when a masala chai blend doesn’t hide the actual tea and the bold, malty assam can still shine. You can steep this masala chai in hot water and all you need is a splash of milk to enhance the creaminess or just steep it in milk entirely. Blue Hour Tea also offers an Agave Chai if honey isn’t your thing.
Ingredients: Assam Black tea, Whole Roasted Spices, Black Pepper, Ginger and Raw Honey from Coal Lake Honey Farm
Price: $14.00 for 200 grams
Ships: Canada only (for the time being)
4. Desi Masala Chai from Tea People
For the longest time, this masala chai blend was my absolute favourite and I wouldn’t try any others because of it. Now that I think about it, this was probably one of the first masala chai blends that I tried loose leaf and made me wonder how I went so long just drinking chai tea bags. I first fell in love with this masala chai because of the fact that many of the spices that were added were still in whole form, which most likely led to it having the incredible flavours I loved it for. Cardamom is my favourite spice and it really shines in this masala chai making it so easy to love sip after sip. I also enjoy that Tea People uses full leaf tea for the base.
Ingredients: Assam Black tea, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves and Bay Leaves
Price: £5.95 for 100 grams
5. Organic Masala Chai from The Teaguy
I first tried this organic masala chai because it came in one of Tea Sparrow’s monthly tea boxes. I’m so glad I got that box and was introduced to The Teaguy’s handcrafted chai. The tea blender of this masala chai was inspired after falling in love with chai while climbing in the Karakorum region of Pakistan and sampling hundreds of variations. I’m not sure what it is exactly about this particular chai, but I found it to be one of the most aromatic ones on this list! If you’re a big fan of cloves and ginger, here is a chai you should definitely give a try. While all of the spices are balanced nicely, the warm and sweet bites from the cloves and ginger are quite powerful. Overall, this masala chai is very smooth and the sensational aroma lasts throughout the tea session.
Ingredients: Assam black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.
Price: $13.00 for 100 grams
Ships: Canada & United States
BONUS: Chai Noir from T By Daniel
If you’re looking for a masala chai with a different style, consider trying this one from T By Daniel. I really enjoy that it’s quite unique in flavour than your traditional masala chai. Along with some of the spices you will usually find in your cup of chai, there are nutty notes thanks to the addition of almonds, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. I find that this tea also offers a subtle chocolate bite which makes it a delightful treat.
Ingredients: Black tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Candied Hazelnuts, Almonds, Cloves, Apple Chunks, Vanilla, Candied Macadamia Nuts, Cactus Blossoms
Price: $9.50 for 50 grams
I really love that each of these chai brands offer something unique with their blends. No two chai blends were the same here and there was a particular flavour that stood out the most in each for me. If you give any of these best chai brands a try, be sure to let me know. If you just want to make your own masala chai from scratch at home the check out my Homemade Masala Chai recipe here.
Do you also enjoy some of the best chai brands on this list or have another you want to share? Share in the comments below!