Monday, May 13, 2013

Chai mix

We ran out of our supply of coffee beans that SB had brought home from our favorite New York coffee roaster, Ithaca Coffee Company so I decided to try something new.  I used to really like drinking chai but I had forgotten about it since moving to Hong Kong.  I went out and bought some chai mixes but they weren't satisfying my memories of a milky, spicy tea with both robust and subtle layers of flavor.  Then I thought to myself, I bet I could try to make this on my own.

So that is what I did.

Most of the recipes that I found online used black tea with two teaspoons each of ginger and cinnamon, and one teaspoon each of cardamom and cloves.  Then you added sugar to your taste.  I found other exotic recipes using star anise, fennel seeds, peppercorns, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.  I decided to experiment with different spices and had a fun time trying out the different combinations.  I liked the subtle licorice flavor of using anise but thought it was too bitter when combined with cloves so I preferred fennel seeds, in very small doses.

Here is my favorite chai mix (so far):

3/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of half & half (or evaporated milk)
2 teaspoons of black tea (I prefer Assam tea)
2 smashed cardamom pods
1/2 cinnamon stick, or 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 thin slice of ginger, or 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger 
1 clove, or 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 peppercorns
sugar or honey, to taste

Heat the milk and water until just below boiling.  Add the tea and spices into a tea strainer or mesh bag and steep for a couple of minutes and then sweeten.  

It's that easy.  The only difficulty is trying to recall which combination you like the most.

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