Masala, Traditional, Authentic, Spiced Chai
The word CHAI is Indian for "tea," so the term "chai tea" is technically redundant ("tea tea"). Chai is mixture of black tea with added spices of cardamom, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, nutmeg, star anise, ginger and fennel. The traditional Indian preparation, known as "masala chai," is brewed into a strong tea and then mixed with an equal part milk. This may be called traditional, authentic, or masala chai; and these terms are interchangeable. Another term you may see is "spiced chai." But this is redundant. All chai is spiced chai; if it weren't, it wouldn't be chai!
But there is one major difference: Traditional masala chai has no added sugar; the only sweetener is the natural milk sugar. By contrast, the American-ized Chai Latte is typically a sweeter drink. Here at Chai Direct we have placed brands that skew toward the lower range of sweetness -- aiming to be more "authentic" or "traditional" in their preparation -- into the Authentic/Traditional/Masala category, while the sweeter varieties are found in the American Chai Latte category. A few brands that skate the middle ground are placed in both.