With this recent descent into cold weather for us Floridians, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to tucking my cold toes into blankets and remaining cocooned in the warmth. Although there isn’t necessarily a winter desert that comes to mind, the one thing I do find myself constantly craving is the comfort of my own home - and chai tea.

As I cuddle up in my blankets, I’m transported to those laid-back mornings when I would wake up with sunlight streaming through the uncovered part of my window - a result of my mom’s halfhearted attempt to wake me - and fuzzy socks protecting my toes from the cold tile.

Winter is prime time to remember the memories of the past year, and the loneliness that the cold weather brings has many of us thinking of our lives at home and the foods and drinks that shaped it. Growing up as a first-generation child of Indian parents, Indian food and culture has always been a prevalent part of my life. But the drink that translated most seamlessly to my life as an adult with my own Asian American culture is chai.

The Origins of Chai

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Chai has a long and developed history in India and can locally be interpreted as a symbol of social unity. Although chai did not originate in India (it was actually adapted from the British use of Chinese tea), it has become culturally relevant in India. Each morning, Indians all throughout the nation unite through their cups of chai.         

As I went from being an elementary school student to a high school senior, the focus on eating together as a family slowly diminished; with working parents and an active sibling, there just wasn’t a good time for everyone to convene. The exception was morning tea. Each morning for as long as I can remember, chai was the essential start to everyone's day, the caffeinated blend leading us to start our day on the right foot. Making chai is simple, and if you can appreciate it for what it is, it may just become a part of your morning routine too.

Although there are various ways in which milk tea can be made, the general directions are the same. Based on your preferences, there are optional additions mentioned below which can seriously improve the depth of the chai’s flavor.

How to Make Chai Tea

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:5 mins
  • Total Time:10 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Medium


  • 1/3 cup water
  • One tablespoon black chai tea
  • Half a teaspoon grated ginger or a whole teaspoon for a stronger flavor
  • One tablespoon sugar
  • Mint leaves optional
  • One cup milk
Amanda Arnone
  • Step 1

    Set the stove to medium heat. Pour 1/3 cup of water into a small pot and place pot on the stove.

    ice, water, splash, cup of water, water cup, water splash, dropping ice
    Jocelyn Hsu
  • Step 2

    Add a tablespoon of black chai tea, a tablespoon of sugar, and half a teaspoon of grated ginger in the pot. Add mint leaves if desired.

    Amanda Arnone
  • Step 3

    Stir the concoction and when the water begins to boil, add the cup of milk. The tea will begin to slowly boil. The longer the tea steeps, the darker it will become and the stronger the tea flavor will become.

    Amanda Arnone
  • Step 4

    For a milkier flavor, strain the tea into a mug after 3 minutes. For a stronger tea flavor, strain after 6 minutes.

    Amanda Arnone

The Perfect Pick-Me-Up

Amanda Arnone

At the end of the day, chai is my very own down-in-the-dumps home remedy. As this winter gets colder and the nights get longer, having a cup of chai doesn’t just give me a shot of warmth - it's also a reminder of the Indian culture and family I will always carry with me, no matter how many holidays I spend away from home.