How you pronounce ‘chai’

I’m a big fan of chai tea — similar to, but not to be confused with, thai tea — when I’m in the mood for a strong, coffee-like hot drink. Chai is the only kind of tea I like with milk, and sometimes even sugar. I make it according to some recipe I saw a while ago, whereby I mix about half milk and water, boil it, add loose tea and simmer for another 10 minutes, then strain it. Since the chai tea I use is pulverized along with the cardamom, cinnamon and other spices, not whole leaf, there is always this gelatinous stuff at the bottom of the saucepan which takes a long time to strain out. All part of the Zen of chai

But it turns out I’ve been pronouncing it wrong for a few years now. People have pointed it out to me but I always thought I was right. But now the Internet tells me I’m wrong. I thought you say “KIE”, with a hard “k”. Turns out it’s “CHY” with the “ch” sound. Here, according to the Web site inogolo, is how you pronounce, “chai.”

The best chai I’ve tried? Maple spice chai from Virtuous Teas, which also has ginger in it. A New England twist to an Indian classic.


About Don Seiffert

I'm a reporter and writer in the Boston area.
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1 Response to How you pronounce ‘chai’

  1. jens says:

    When we talked about tea and chai a week ago, I’d swear that you pronounced it right. I think I would have noticed if you had said “kai.” I have a similar problem with the techy word “pwned.” I always seem to want to pronounce it “pawned” and not “powned.”

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