We brew our chai with either organic whole milk or organic soy milk (for customers who do not drink/eat diary). Almost everyday, we get a customer requesting chai with non-fat milk or 2% milk. As much as we would like to give customers exactly what they want, we cannot. Mainly b'coz we don't make chai on-site; all our chai is brewed at a commercial kitchen in the Mission and we transport it to the chai carts downtown in insulated containers that keep it hot for several hours.
I've had chai made with whole milk for as long as I can remember. When I was little, growing up in India, we had our unpasteurized milk delivered every morning from the milkman who lived a mile away. It came straight from the cow or buffalo. It was creamy and tasty and no one worried about calories or fat content in chai. We drank chai in 6oz tea cups and not 16oz Grande.
Of course, India has come a long way since then and milk production and distribution in India has been centralized and is owned by large corporations. There are choices too - whole, skim, 2%, cream on top, etc. What hasn't changed though is my preference of a creamy cup of chai.
There is a fine line between creamy and too milky. I prefer to use Clover Farms’ Organic Whole Milk. Clover Farms milk has a nice velvety texture and we choose organic simply b'coz its more humane. Every cup of our chai has 1/3rd cup of milk. Anything more would make it too milky.
Those who are concerned about calories, you shouldnt be. As we only lightly sweeten our chai (1 tsp per 8oz cup), the amount of sugar and calories in our chai is less than half of what you would get at your favorite coffee shop.
Chai is personal and everybody has different preferences in taste and ways to make their favorite cup. I like mine with whole milk and you may like yours with almond milk. And when it comes to skim milk, I couldn't have said it better than Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.