What Spices Are In Chai Latte?

What spices are in Chai latte? We find out.

What spices are in a chai latte. Different kinds of spices in a wooden spoon with the heads of the spoon placed side by side each other.
Spices provide you with a spicy sweetened Chai drink

Chai has a warm spicy sweetened drink that you will fall in love with. This is the perfect drink for all seasons but especially in fall and winter times.

It is super easy if you are a Chai lover and would love to make your homemade blend. What spices are added to make a Chai Latte? 

Five main spices are used in a Chai latte: ginger, black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. They are the foundation of Chai; other spices can also be added, such as nutmeg, fennel, star anise, and coriander. The extra spices will add exciting flavors to your original blend.

Chai is originally from India and has become a trendy drink worldwide due to its unique spicy flavor. When making a Chai spice blend, five essential spices need to be added with a few others if desired, which we will look at. 

What Essential Spices Are Used In A Chai Latte?

 Cinnamon, aroma, spices
Spices give the Chai drink its loved flavor

Chai latte flavors are related to those of masala chai which are commonly consumed in many Indian households. The spices are what give Chai its beautiful loved flavor. The spices you choose and the quantities you use can be slightly altered to your desired taste. 

There are a few spices that are usually used that form the foundation of the Chai flavor, although you don’t have to use all of them.

Let’s look at the five essential spices:

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon adds a bit of sweetness to Chai compared to the other spices. It is best to use cinnamon sticks when brewing Chai, although you can also try powdered cinnamon. Use a bit of this powered spice to garnish to give you a fragrant, beautiful end product.

2. Cardamom

This spice should not be left out; its smoky and earthy flavor with a bit of a warm bite is essential to create that Chai flavor. You can try green cardamom whole pods rather than the seeds, which you can gently crack open before adding them to your brew. 

3. Cloves

In some recipes, this spice is optional, but it actually works very well with the other spices to give you a beautiful flavor, so try it first before leaving it out. Cloves will provide you with a warm flavor to the Chai and partner well with the sweetness of the cinnamon and the spicy black pepper. 

4. Ginger

Ginger will add a spicy, peppery flavor with a bit of sweetness to your Chai. It is best to use fresh ginger to get that fresh spicy flavor, but whole dried ginger will also work well.  

5. Black pepper

It may seem a little odd to add pepper to a drink, but this spice is vital for making the perfect Chai. Black pepper gives you that spicy bite that hits you in the back of your throat, and it is needed to balance the sweet flavors in this beverage.

What Other Spices Can You Add To Your Chai Latte?

Although the above spices are the ones that are typically used, some recipes include other spices that you can also add that will add more flavor to your drink. You don’t need to add these, but you can have a little fun with them and experiment with different flavors till you find your preferred recipe. 

  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg will add a warm, nutty flavor to your latte. It is known for its rich aroma and bittersweet, woody taste.
  • Star anise: This gives Chai a deep licorice flavor with a sweet note; it has a more robust spicy flavor and adds more sweetness to this drink. 
  • Fennel: This spice is similar to star anise, although it offers more of a gentle licorice flavor. This is a staple in some Chai recipes.
  • Coriander seeds: these seeds give the Chai a bit of a citrus flavor that is sweet and mild. 

The most crucial spice that forms the foundation of your Chai flavor is cardamom. The rest of your essential spices are ones that we commonly used, giving you the Chai flavor you are used to. It would be preferred to stick with these for your first try, but after that, don’t be scared to experiment and try a few of the other spices, which will make your Chai flavor more exciting and delightful.

Using Whole Vs. Ground Spices In Chai?

A top view of a cup of coffee with 2 cinnamon rolls laid on top of the cup. Some spices and coffee beans are present on the surface with the cup.
Whole spices give your drink a rich flavor and full of aroma

It may be easier and very tempting to use ground spices as you could simply mix them to make your Chai blend, but they will not provide the same quality flavor as whole spices. Ground spices lose most of their original aroma and nutritional value due to standing in warehouses and on shelves for extended periods. 

Some brands add preservatives or flavoring or even use lower quality spices to reduce their costs. When you buy whole spices, you know what you are buying, and the flavor that you obtain from them is rich and full of aroma. If you would like to have it in powder form, you can even ground it yourself.

To get more flavor out of your whole spices, you can lightly roast them in the oven for a bit before grinding them into a powder. Try and buy spices that have an extended expiry date so that you can be sure they are fresh and will last longer.

These spices can be purchased from your nearest Indian or Asian store; you can even look online and buy these spices on Amazon or from organic spice stores. 

Final Word On What Spices are in chai latte

Chai is becoming increasingly popular worldwide; it is a fun hot drink that will warm you up in cold weather. The nice thing about making your own Chai spice blend is that you get to choose what spices you would like to add. 

There are five essential spices always used in most recipes, with a few others that can be added to offer a little bit of excitement. Some of these spices may make your latte either spicier, sweeter, or a bit of both, depending on your preference. Include freshly ground or whole spices to your chai latte to get a delicious, flavorful drink.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.