Sunday, 16 September 2012

Making your own chai flavored tea!

I'm a bit of a tea drinker. I've never liked coffee and over the last few years I have expanded my tea drinking repertoire to exdend well beyong an English breakfast and an Earl Grey. I love going into shops like T2 and the Tea Centre and trying all the different flavoured teas that they have. I'm a black tea drinker though... I don't mind green tea with sushi, but given the choice of a spicy chai, a creamy vanilla, a reliable french earl grey from my collection or a watery green tea - It just never gets drunk.

Even though I have found a few good sources of flavoured black tea's at the markets and a wee shop tucked away in an arcade in a distant suburb that I like to support over the big tea companies, I have been wrestling with making my own for a while. I mean how hard can it be?

Since I have woken up sooooo early this morning (4.45am - it figures, I'm going to be at work till 1am tonight) and the husband is very sensibly sleeping, I decided that I had time to trawl the net and see how exactly you make a chai flavoured tea. I came across this site early on in my search and decided that since she reckoned it was so easy, I'd just go into the kitchen a whip myself up a batch of "random kitchen spice" chai tea!

Here's what I did...

First I collected a list of spices that went into a chai. It would seem that there is no single recipe for chai like there is for, lets say, Earl Grey tea (which is bergamot flavoured). So I looked for ingredients that I'm likely to have already or could source easily. I didn't bother with things like marshmallow root as Im confident I wont be able to pick that up at the local Aldi!

Then I got an empty tea jar (I decant my teas into jars and store them on my tea shelf) and got out my motley collection of spices. As this is an experiment rather than a purist type endeavour, I decided it was fine to try some of the spices that may have spent a lot of time in my cupboard in this recipe!

In the interests of keeping it simple for my first attempt, I basically put a teaspoon of anything I could find on the list into the jar, including a teaspoon of cocoa!

Then I added the last of my large loose leaf plain black tea and mixed it all together.

Popped a spoonful into a pot...

And made myself a cup of chai! 

I had a taste when it was just plain black - and decided to go down the traditional chai path and add lots of milk and sugar! 

Like so! Ahh - thats better!

The verdict? Entirely drinkable!! And tottally bloggable! Lacks a bit of a real spice kick - but that's because I didn't go over board with any of the spices so next time I made a chai cuppa, I will add a few more teaspoons of peppercorns, cardamon, cloves and maybe cinnamon I think.

 I think I will end up with a jar of "perpetual chai' as I will simply add a bit of this and a bit of that depending on what I feel like at the time. As long as I add some tea as well I can't see why I will ever need to buy chai again???

It would seem that I could make a lot a flavored teas at home, maybe adda vanilla pod to some plain large loose tea and let infuse for vanilla tea. What about rose petals for rose tea? Would they be strong enough? Peppermint would be easy enough... What about cinnamon and dried orange peel? Hmmm.... the possibili-tea's seem endless!!! I'll let you know how my future experiments go!

In the meantime - have a look at these sites (and this one) if you are needing some more chai inpsiration!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 if you are using organic fairtrade tea and spices
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for making something at home that costs about $7 for 50gms for less than 1/2 that!
Time cost: Maybe 10 minutes - if you have the spices and tea in the cupboard.
Skill level: spooning, mixing making a cuppa easy!
Fun -ness: This is fun by the cupful right down to the last mouthful!


africanaussie said...

Oh I have been experimenting with teas lately as well! I ordered a glass teapot and some of those flower tea balls from T2 - they are lovely . I dried my rosellas and have been enjoying that with a little grated ginger added. cost - zero, flavour - awesome!

Practical Frog said...

Yes - I saw the rosella tea's you made on your blog! My rosella trees didnt produce much this year... too wet. Have you tried rosellas in champagne?? Yummmmmm! - K xx

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