Despite the expertise implied by its name, WebMD has always been something of an unreliable source, as anyone who's ever searched their cold symptoms on the site only to be told they have cancer can confirm.
So it should probably surprise no one that WebMD's venture into the art of food preparation was a similar WTF-level face-plant. Case in point?
Their recipe for a so-called "chai latte" that was not so much a chai latte as a... well, honestly who knows?
But it had maple syrup as a main ingredient, and suffice to say, Twitter was full-on revolted—and unlikely to ever forget it.
Hello WebMD! This is neither chai nor latte. 🤮 https://t.co/9xIZsGf21w— Nandita Iyer (@Nandita Iyer)1601275954.0
So what was so bad about this chai latte recipe?
Well, there are many variations of chai recipes, but the basic ingredients are a variety of spices—usually cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger—mixed with a bit of milk and sweetened with sugar referred to as Masala Chai. And no, there is no tea in authentic Masala Chai even if some people call it "spiced milk tea."
Chai Tea (black tea mixed with spices) is a different thing than traditional Masala Chai (sweetened spiced milk).
WebMD's recipe was for a Chai Tea Latte, however, it still went entirely rogue. There was coconut milk, for starters, which is a more Thai than Indian spin on Chai Tea Latte.
But WebMD's deviations from the norm got worse from there. Instead of the usual spice blend, WebMD included, for whatever reason, star anise.
Because nothing says chai like everyone's most reviled candy flavor, black licorice. Although the spice is well known for its use in Italian recipes like pizelles and anisette cookies.
So, Masala Thai Italian Chai Tea Latte?
But what really melted Twitter's brains was the inexplicable inclusion of maple syrup—lots and lots of maple syrup.
Now it was Masala Thai Italian Canadian Chai Tea Latte.
Before you knew it, WebMD's tweet was infamous. They quickly pulled the post.
According to Twitter, literally everything about this chai tea latte was wrong, from the choice of ingredients...
What on earth are you making here, chai or potpourri?? https://t.co/3Pe6PuU7fh— Kabir Taneja (@Kabir Taneja)1601289241.0
Pls! My desi masala chai rocks. This is so wannabe. https://t.co/pdrHWhlPdI— Chaiti Narula (@Chaiti Narula)1601280554.0
@OfLoveee @WebMD Why is the “yep you definitely have cancer” website teaching us how to make tea?— Will Shop of Horrors 👻💀 (SpaceTree Studios) (@Will Shop of Horrors 👻💀 (SpaceTree Studios))1601301753.0
@WebMD "without the coffee shop price tag" habibi this is without the price tag and without any decency. please delete this tweet.— Ubadah Sabbagh (@Ubadah Sabbagh)1601301286.0
...to the weakness of the tea...
Three bags of black tea in two cups of water and they end up with that light shade of brown tea? https://t.co/CjcZjkfL6F— meetasengupta (@meetasengupta)1601208226.0
Everything about this is so wrong. The weakass colour is just the worst kicker https://t.co/4cvhhgI4gw— Madhavi (@Madhavi)1601270608.0
...to the fact that this whole thing apparently bears a closer resemblance to some traditional Indian food dishes than to chai.
@saffrontrail throw in some chicken and jeeragasamba rice and you've got a pretty spicy biryani.— Udhay Shankar (@Udhay Shankar)1601281993.0
Those are enough spices for a POTFUL OF SAALAN! Oh, and maple syrup? #SerenityNow https://t.co/utZLsJrMZZ— Aliya Nazki (@Aliya Nazki)1601296765.0
You know what! If you added rice instead of tea bags, this would be pulav! This is neither “chai” nor “latte”. It l… https://t.co/5k6ZWu4zY3— Rocky (@Rocky)1601302587.0
@WebMD Add rice instead of tea bags and this will be biryani👌 https://t.co/ZmvmFM5i5E— J for Joke; J for Judiciary (@J for Joke; J for Judiciary)1601292909.0
Ew! Three sticks of cinnamon!! Also you are like halfway to making chole. Now add a can or so of garbanzo beans, sa… https://t.co/IYhfOmeeli— Priya Ravichandran (@Priya Ravichandran)1601302907.0
So let this be a lesson to WebMD. Stick to telling us we that our colds are cancer and leave the cooking to the experts.