Masala chai (Hindi: मसाला चाय, literally "mixed-spice tea"; Urdu: مصالحہ چائے) is a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses. Although traditionally prepared by a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves, retail versions include tea bags for infusion, instant powdered mixtures, and concentrates. The noun chai alone refers to the beverage tea, although some cultures have appropriated it as a loanword to mean masala chai.
The traditional masala chai is a spiced beverage brewed with different proportions of warming spices. The spice mixture, called Karha, uses a base of ground ginger and green cardamom pods. Other spices are usually added to this base or karha. For example, most masala chai found on the street, in restaurants or in homes incorporates one or more of the following along with ginger and cardamom, namely: cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, peppercorn, nutmeg and cloves. In the Western world, using allspice, to either replace or complement the cinnamon and clove, is also common.