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A first timer's chai experience

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I've always been comfortable with my choice of tea: Earl Grey. Chai was new to me and personally I wasn't sure if I would like it. At first I was planning on making my own as I had and could readily find the ingredients. I never heard of cardamom before, but I did manage to find it. The problem was that it cost $8 (CAN) for 40g. I wasn't sure when I would have use for cardamom afterwards so I decided to go for the ready-to-drink package.

I tried to find a brand with the least amount of tea bags. (When trying something for the first time, whether it be food or a something else, I keep my guard up.) In the end, I purchased Chai Spice Black Tea from Stash. The ingredients were "naturally decaffeinated black teas, cinnamon, ginger root, cinnamon flavor, clove oil, allspice, clove, nutmeg, and cardamom oil".

Back home I brewed the tea. I love the smell of cinnamon but it was quite strong. (For a while the kitchen smelled of the spices.) For my first try I drank the tea straight. The weather was quite hot already and the spices added extra warmth. Despite having doubts at first, I enjoyed it. Personally it would have tasted even better during winter.

For the next batch of tea bags I decided to vary the flavour by adding sugar, honey, milk or a combination. My favourite variation was adding milk. By adding a bit to the tea, it helped dilute the spiciness. The package gave instructions for making ice chai tea so I made that as well.

It was my first time drinking chai tea so I'm sorry if my experience sounded boring. If we're going to have another chai theme in the future, I'll be more daring. :)
Current Mood:
calm calm
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On September 3rd, 2010 10:05 am (UTC), fujiko1601 commented:
I found this while looking for chai recipes. No use for me since I don't have stores like this, but I'll share just in case.

Indian/Eastern Import Stores are your best bet.
Try the “Specialty” section of your Grocer’s before going to the Baking Supplies area.
You’ll find most of the spices at a supermarket in the Baking Supplies row, but the price for a little jar will astound you.

Whole Cinnamon and Whole Cloves can be bought in the Mexican Spice area of many supermarkets, in bags.
Whole Black Peppercorns are also readily available.
Green Cardamom Pods, at the Indian store.
Ginger can be bought fresh at most Groceries.
Black Cardamom Pods are found at Indian Grocers.
Star Anise can be found in the Mexican Spice area or Import store.
Fennel seed is cheapest at the Indian store, or Mexican Spice area.

I already had some cardamom pods and grounded cardamom (for baking and Indian cooking etc), but I went to buy some more and found both cardamom pods and star anise a bit expensive. Grounded was more tolerable.

How was ice chai?

I'm not sure if we are going to reuse themes, but this comm is more than themes and you can post about your experiments any time.
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On September 3rd, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC), xbluedawn replied:
Thank you! With specific markets like these, one can choose the quantity they want. There are a lot of Chinese herbal stores so hopefully I can find similar Mexican and Indian stores as well. There should be one, I just have to look.

Iced chai tea was pretty good. I boiled it, poured it in a glass and then put it in the freezer (not the fridge). There was a thin film of ice on the top but I didn't mind since it was really hot that day.

Ah, it's okay. Nevertheless, I'll try to be more daring with the next theme. I still need to make the entry I promised a while ago, but I haven't had that specific tea in a while. I want to take my own photo of it so I'm waiting until the moment comes. :) (There's no recipe for that tea, and it also needs a specific machine.)
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On September 4th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC), fujiko1601 replied:
I hope you will find them.

I have little hope to have hot weather before summer next year. Otherwise I would have loved to have iced tea as a theme. We should have started this earlier, July this year was exceptionally hot.

I have some entries to make as well. With the theme going on somehow all the other tea I drank felt somehow less important. Maybe we should not leave the theme posts to the end of the project and post as we go. What do you think?

A photo would be nice. And a special machine :O.
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On September 5th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC), xbluedawn replied:
Thank you. :)

It's all right. Maybe next year we can have a theme where we have iced tea of any kind.

I like the idea of making the posts as we go along. Just so we have the taste and the preparation methods fresh in our minds.

Actually I have no idea how they make that specific tea. XD I'm sure they use a machine of some sort because it's something one can't make at home. (Hint: it's an Asian tea.)
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On September 6th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC), fujiko1601 replied:
That sounds interesting. Looking forwards to it.
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On September 3rd, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC), helike commented:
Chai is the best with milk in my opinion XD
I think you can make your own chai even without cardamom, as there is no universal recipe. It seems that what really makes chai is boiling tea leaves instead of steeping them.
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On September 3rd, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC), xbluedawn replied:
I agree. Chai tea is awesome with milk! :D

I never knew that cardamom wasn't needed! *slaps forehead* Maybe next time I'll brew my own chai tea and see how it goes.

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On September 3rd, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC), helike replied:
There is no fixed recipe for "the best chai" so it should be fine no matter what spices you add ^^
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On September 5th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC), xbluedawn replied:
I'm relieved! I'll probably buy some spices (w/o cardamom) and see how it tastes!
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