Legend has it that masala chai was invented by a royal king in the ancient courts of India and Siam who protected the recipe as one of his treasures. There are those who say its roots can be traced unmistakably to the Hindu natural healing system Ayurveda, in which combinations of spices, herbs and sweeteners are used to cure bodily ailments. The original recipe was created out of the need for a remedy to combat minor discomforts for those without easy access to medical care. As such, chai became available to the general populace who drank the tea daily for its cleansing and regenerative qualities. And others say masala tea evolved from the time when the British arrived and popularised tea drinking in the Indian sub continent.
We do know for sure that since its beginning though, chai recipes have varied, and today, they differ by region, neighbourhood and even by household. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation, so that having a cup of chai does not simply mean enjoying a relaxing beverage, in communion with family and colleagues but also experiencing a family tradition.