Chin chin, chai…

Today is a stay in day for me. Apart from a walk up to the shop, but otherwise a rest day. We’ve had some good rides this week, a couple of wines out at the bar last night (since it was Friday) and a nice sleep in today.

Some dark grey clouds have blown in, in readiness for the rain that is forecast tonight and all day tomorrow. I feel a little tiny bit of a cold coming on, so today I made myself a nice pot of chai tea.

I love my chai tea. Preferably with soy milk, but that’s just my personal taste.

Here in France I’ve had a hard time finding a good, prepared chai tea mix, or tea bags. Back in Australia, I know I can get chai teabags in a few brands, including Twinings who’s come in a  black package – but do you think they can be found here? No, not at all. The Twinings black package here is for Scottish tea. As I’ve found with most things Asian, it is hard to find the good stuff here.

I have searched high and low for any brand, and have found that chai green tea is sometimes available – but I don’t particularly the taste of green tea. I like my chai made with black tea. Additionally, the two that I did find (and now have to remember where, because I can’t find them again) seemed to have more ginger in that what I am used to from Australia. The only solution then, is to make my own.

At first this does seem like a bit of messing about. But now that I’m sitting here sipping my beautiful fragrant, hot, sweet chai, it has been worth spending about 1/2 an hour in the kitchen.

Luckily for me, because TC loves to cook so much, I had all the spices I needed on hand. However, some were pre-ground where I really should have used whole seeds or pods (cardamom), but no matter, I still got the flavour I wanted.  Here is what I came up with for my chai tea…

Take some of the following:

  • whole star anise
  • cloves
  • cinnamon stick
  • black peppercorns
  • sliced fresh ginger
  • cardamom seeds (or whole pods, split open)
  • a bay leaf

Afterwards, you will need:

  • black tea leaves (or tea bags)
  • honey
  • milk of choice (if you want vegan, use soy, almond, rice, etc)
Chai tea 3  Chai tea 2

Add all of the spices & the bay leaf to water & boil for 5 minutes Chai tea 1

Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Then add black tea leaves and bring back to boil, simmer for 5 minutes.  Then add honey and soy milk & heat through for a few minutes Chai tea 5

Strain into cups or mugs and enjoy… Chai tea 6

If you are going to have a go at this, play around with the quantities that you prefer. I like mine with less ginger & star anise (I only used 1 star anise and about 6 very thin slices of ginger), more cinnamon and cloves (I used a whole cinnamon stick and about 6 cloves). I started with about 3 cups of water, and about 1/2 a cup of soy milk, and in the end it yielded 1 and 1/2 large mugs.  Chai tea 4

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14 comments

  1. Thanks for the tips on chai – having just moved to France, and having experienced the real thing in India last year, I may try out your recipe to save myself the heartache! 🙂

  2. The french aren’t very good at tea. One of my english friends brings enough tea to last him a whole cycle tour wherever he goes! They are good at a lot of other things though.

  3. I love chai. And ginger tea. I became addicted to it in India. Everywhere you go there, you are offered tea; and it is bad manners to say “no”. Not that you would want to, it is so delicious. I also like the ceremony that comes with it, even when it is something very simple. You have evoked some lovely memories. Thank you. I hope you have nipped the cold in the budd and it leaves you alone. Enjoy your chai.

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