Best cup of chai this side of Bombay

I’m a chai addict. I even like the starbucks when I can’t have the home version. I’ve never been to this place below but I’m going try the recipe and see if it lives up to the reputation.

Raman Bechar’s Chai

This is a home version of the chai at Coastside Gourmet Coffee Tea & Health Nuts in Half Moon Bay. Owner Raman Bechar and his son, Raj, make each chai to order by frothing the milk, tea, sugar and spice mix together with their espresso machine. This recipe allows you to prepare it on the stovetop.


1 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons Tea India tea leaves (see Note), or a blend of Darjeeling and Assam tea leaves

1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

Two pinches Chai Masala (see recipe)


Combine the milk, tea leaves and sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. As it slowly comes to a simmer, swirl often to incorporate the sugar and keep an eye on the heat to prevent the milk from burning. A thin film will form on the surface and the milk will turn golden.

When the milk comes to a low boil, reduce heat, add a pinch of spice mix and simmer gently, swirling occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Set a small strainer over a tea cup. To create foam, hold the saucepan a foot or more above the cup and pour in the chai, then let rest for a minute or two. Dust with a small pinch of spice mix.

Yields 1 cup

Note: Raman Bechar uses the imported Tea India brand, which is for sale at his cafe and at Indian grocers.

PER CUP: 200 calories, 8 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 33 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 0 fiber.

Chai Masala

The exact proportion of spices in Bechar’s chai masala, or spice blend, is a house secret. This recipe is an approximation and will make enough for multiple cups of chai. Be sure to use fresh spices.


1 teaspoon ground green cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Combine all spices in a small bowl. Stir well to blend.

Yields 2 1/4 teaspoons

Best cup of chai this side of Bombay

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