Flavor Your Favorite Loose Leaf Tea
Chai is actually the generic word for tea in many Asian languages. To people in the west, Chai most often means a milky, sweet, spicy, tea based drink of wonderfulness. It is very common in India where it is known as Chai Masala.
If you have never had a cup of Chai Masala you have no idea what you are missing. It is a wonderful beverage that is soothing and warming and just all around delightful.
Making your own Chai can be somewhat time consuming and labor intensive but, very worth it. Many families have their own recipes for Masala Chai that have been passed down for generations. But most have some things in common. Most contain milk that has a significant fat content; the creamy taste of the fat helps the spices to blend nicely. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and Ginger are some spices that are typically featured. Also, there is some sort of sweetener. This can be white sugar, raw sugar, honey, or condensed milk- this part largely depends on the preference of the person preparing the Chai.
To make Chai Masala, water, spices, and sugar are heated in order to allow the flavors to blend. This take about 5 minutes, some people add the tea at this point if they like their tea very strong. At this point add milk, heat to just boiling. This is the other time when the tea is usually added. Turn of the heat, and allow the mixture to steep, strain and serve. Usually the tea used in Masala Chai is unscented Black Tea but Green Tea is occasionally used.
Making ones’ own Chai Masala yields great tea, but is occasionally not practical. More and more mixtures of chai spices are becoming available or pre-made chai concentrate that only needs milk added are becoming available. There are some varieties of Chai Masala that are even available in tea bags, but these usually yield a substandard cup of tea.
Adding flavors and scents to tea are another way to vary the flavor of a cup of tea. One of the most common scents and flavors added to tea is Jasmine. This is done by putting Jasmine flowers in tea and allowing the fragrance to be infused into the tea.