When I was in India and Nepal, I had masala chai everyday. In fact, I liked it so much that after I got back to Hong Kong, I went online and found its recipes, bought the ingredients, and tried to make it at home. After several rounds of trial and error, having my dad and Yik drank cups and cups of still-taste-a-bit-off masala chai, I finally got it right and found the taste that I wanted!
Basically, masala chai is a mixture of milk and water, with tea leaves, sweetener, and spice. There is no one recipe. Everyone has her own version, for its taste depends greatly on personal preference.
I have found the chai tastes much better, more robust and full-bodied, when I prepare it in high heat by simmering the milk, water, and tea leaves instead of just pouring hot water over the tea leaves. While I like using loose tea leaves, I have tried tea bag and found it just fine, as long as I put enough tea bags for the taste and color.
As for spice, since I am no expert in Indian food, I just use a pack of garam masala that I bought from the supermarket and it’s good, giving me the aroma and taste that I want. I also like adding in a few pieces of fresh ginger for extra flavor and sweetened condensed milk for a more full-bodied chai.
Try it at home. Play around and try different combinations and find the one that fits your taste the best.