August’s Featured Tea: Indian Chai

August 15, 2013

Chai is a popular beverage for good reason – it’s intoxicatingly delicious. Our chai is a strong, authentic blend of Indian black tea and spices offering a distinct spicy/citric aroma. And you can feel good about drinking it, because it is also organic.

Our authentic blend of Indian black tea and spices is a traditional family recipe from an Indian tea grower. This blend is strong, more A&E Roastery Indian Chaipungent than American chais, and it is delicious. The traditional way of making chai, according to our source, is to steep one full teaspoon of tea and spices in a mix of a 1/2 cup of half and half, and 3/4 cup water for about 15 minutes, on a stovetop. The goal is to reduce the liquid by a full cup through evaporation. This makes the chai strong, rich and smooth. Remove it from the heat and add sweetener, either honey or sugar, and stir until dissolved. Finish by straining off tea and spices.

Otherwise, steep for 3-5 minutes with boiling water, 212 degrees.

Interestingly, chai is actually the Hindi word for tea, so to say “chai tea” would be a bit duplicative. In fact, variations of the sound “chai” are used in many Eastern languages, to indicate tea. In Hindi, the beverage we know as chai would be called “masala chai”, which means “mixed-spice tea”.

Different cultures also prepare masala chai in different ways. Ours uses a black tea, but others may use green tea, and modern versions have included non-caffeinated herbal ingredients as a base, like roobios. The spices used may vary as well, from region to region, in places where chai is popular.

Despite the variations, there are four elements that are usually included in a chai: Some kind of tea, some kind of sweetener, milk, and spices. Even the milk may be a different variety, depending upon who you are and where you are from. In India, you may run across chai made with buffalo milk. In the US, some variety of cows’ milk is more likely. And of course…those who are not fans of milk can make theirs with water, or a milk substitute. Possible sweeteners include honey, sugar, or whichever type of sweetener you may prefer. Chai is customizable to the individual.

We are confident that the chai we offer is an engaging, and entertaining drink – and one that we are proud to sell.

For a full listing of teas that A&E carries view our full Tea Selection.

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