Chai Tea is a soothing and warming winter beverage, although iced chai is a delicious summer treat. Over the years I have come to have chai as an absolute favorite for cold weather, to have at any time of day, and not the Starbucks version. One key to goodness is making certain you have fresh ingredients, do not purchase from a place where the spices have been sitting around getting dusty.
Originally, I learned how to make masala chai (meaning spice tea) when I was working in Belgium from one of my Indian workmates. She taught me to make masala chai using a combination of long simmered spices blended with milk, rich black tea, and a sweetener. Indian chai has a soothing and warming effect and it acts as a natural aid to digestion and gives one a sense of well-being. Cinnamon is a spice that is said to have multiple health benefits including enhancing your ability to concentrate.
Making Indian Chai Tea
-4 cups filtered water
-2 cups whole milk (use one part milk to two parts water)
-8 slightly crushed cardamom pods
-2 broken/crushed cinnamon sticks
-1-inch piece lightly crushed ginger
-6-7 whole black peppercorns
(optional spices also include star anise, allspice & fennel seed)
-3 Tablespoons black tea, for a strong infusion
-honey or sugar to taste
Combine all crushed spices, milk and water in a medium saucepan
Slowly bring to a boil, then simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Reduce heat and add in black tea, let it steep for around 3 minutes, Add honey or sugar to taste
Strain the warm spiced tea mixture and serve
If you don’t have time to make your own chai, try purchasing chai blends from a tea specialist. My particular favorite is Organic Cinnamon Chai Rooibos, available at David’s Tea (at Montgomery Mall or online), because it has the warm, spicy cinnamon flavor combined with rooibos which does not have caffeine but does have a rich flavor.