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Sticky Chai vs. Chai Latte Powder.

Updated: Feb 7


Image of various chai spices with the title, "What is the difference between Sticky Chai & Chai Latte Powder?"

A simple and concise guide to choosing the best chai experience whether at home or in a coffee shop.


Table of Contents:


Introduction


Picture this: you're in a cozy café, embracing the soothing aroma of spices. The menu offers not one, but two tantalizing chai options: sticky chai and powdered chai. With these options, you find yourself in a delightful dilemma.


In this article, as a (self-proclaimed) chai expert, I'll reveal the differences between sticky chai and chai latte powder. With this information, you will be able to make an informed decision.


What is Chai Latte Powder?


Powdered Chai is often the most popular in cafes and coffee shops due to the quick infuse time it boasts. This type of chai is what most people in the West recognised as a “Chai Latte”. It involves a few scoops of powder being added into a jug. This is then combined with milk and steamed.


The powder mix is usually made up with black tea extract, finely ground aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves (or spice flavourings), as well as sugar/sweetener. This concoction creates a pungent and intense flavour. The result? An intensely sweet, flavourful cup of chai which is characterised by the sweet strength of the drink.


While powdered chai has its loyal following, we think it comes up a little short when it comes to truly authentic chai. While it might win on speed and convenience, have these qualities ever really been associated with the better things in life?


A coffee shop bench with a half open laptop and a cup for chai

What is Sticky Chai?


Now, let's take a detour from convenience into the realm of sticky chai. Imagine a blend where spices, tea leaves, fresh grated ginger and natural honey fuse together to create a chai blend that's both delightful and indulgent. That's sticky chai for you!


Sticky chai introduces a whole new level of decadence to your chai experience. The process of making sticky chai involves simmering the spices, tea leaves, ginger and honey together on the hob. This results in a flavourful, richly spiced chai that your taste buds will thank you for.

While sticky chai may take a little longer to make, the result achieved is that of pure bliss and enjoyment. A cup of warming spiced chai to heat your body and relax your mind!


A square graphic with a chai latte in the middle and the word "CHAI" repeating around the edge of the image.

Which Chai is Better?


Now for the big question, which chai should you choose? Below, I will lay out a few things which clearly separate these two types of chai.


Ingredients:


As mentioned previously, Powdered Chai Lattes contain a lot of ingredients that don’t resemble traditional chai. For example, these powders often use ‘tea extract’, a highly concentrated ingredient which loses many of the health benefits tea is known for. Another issue we find with Powdered Chai Latte is the number of flavourings many of them have. This is to create a stronger flavour and gives the chai mix a longer shelf life.


On the opposite side of the table, Sticky Chai is all natural. No flavourings, extracts or shelf life enhancing chemicals. Just pure, all natural, whole/crushed spices. Not only this, but the tea used in Sticky Chai is also of a much higher quality. Since we use fresh grated ginger and local honey in our Sticky Chai, you get all of the good stuff without compromising on flavour or ingredients. Honey also acts as a natural preservative and keeps our chai fresher for longer (9 months!)


We should also mention. The average 16oz Chai Latte made with powder contains a whopping 42g of sugar (Ouch!). Compare this to 20g of sugar in a Sticky Chai made latte, we’ll let you make up your own mind on that one.


Flavour:


Flavour is where we see who the real winner is. We have to give Powdered Chai its fair acknowledgement. It does taste strong and the flavour is created quickly in the milk base. This isn’t something we can argue with. What we do know however is that we would much rather take the time to prepare a drink as it has been done for hundreds of years in Asia to ensure we have an authentic and flavourful chai. While Sticky Chai does take longer to prepare, we think this is a reasonable trade-off for the artificially tasting, over sweetened Powdered Chai mix. When it comes down to what you are putting into your body, why choose artificial over natural?


Conclusion


While we may seem bias towards sticky chai, that's probably because we are. We enjoy good chai and only Sticky Chai blends do it for us. While we might not choose to drink the powdered alternatives, we know that it is often the most convenient option and that is the biggest draw towards Chai Latte Powder for many people. However, we have to give the crown to sticky chai for its overall health benefits compared to its artificial powdered chai cousin.


In the end, we value the experience of a chai which takes a little longer to create, but tastes more natural in every way. A drink like chai, when made in a way which causes you to slow down a little, allows you to savour a high quality product, and also get a little time to pause and be present in your day.


We encourage you to try a simple and easy recipe online or if you fancy trying our Sticky Chai Blend, you can find it at www.chalachai.com where we ship across Europe and to the UK.


Choose the better things in life over convenience and your body will always thank you for it. Thanks for reading, Andrew McGuire

(Chief Tea Boy at Chala Chai)


 


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ANDREW MCGUIRE

CHALA FOUNDER & CHAI EDUCATOR

Hello there!

If you want to learn more about chai, you have come to the right place!

 

With chai continuing to grow in popularity, there are lots of questions to be answered.

In my blog posts, I answer the questions that I receive daily from customers and those who come across Chala at markets or online.

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