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Chai tea: a cold weather friend.

As we move in to the colder parts of the-year, keeping the body warm and nourished becomes more important, and one way to achieve this is to start your morning with a cup of hot Chai tea. Chai has become a household word in America over the last five years and continues to gain popularity as an alternative to coffee and espresso drinks. The world Chai is the Indian word for tea, more specifically strong black tea brewed with therapeutic spices and milk then sweetened with either rock sugar or honey. There will be slight variations in spice combinations and amounts used depending on who you talk to or what region you're in, however the combination of black tea, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, nutmeg, black pepper, and cardamom tends to be the most common. According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health, the spices used to make Chai provide a variety of benefits. The combination is calming, vitalizing and mentally clarifying suitable for all constitutions and supports healthy digestion, assimilation, elimination, detoxification. This can lead to less disease over time and help ease the aging process.

The following is a traditional recipe for Chai that can be made at home. It is best to buy the spices whole and use a small coffee grinder to grind them yourself ahead of time. Some other ingredients I have found to work well include licorice root, fennel seed, allspice berries, bay leaves, nutmeg, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, orange peel, coriander, mint leaves, vanilla bean, and lemon. Experiment till you find a combination you like and mix it together, storing it in a glass jar in your pantry.

Chai Tea

Makes about 8 cups In a saucepan add the following, cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes:
7 Cups water
1 Tbsp fennel or anise seed
6 green cardamom pods
12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4" ginger root, sliced thin
1/4 tsp black pepper corns
2 bay leaves

Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes Add 2 Tbsp Darjeeling or Assam tea bring to a boil again, simmering for 5 minutes:

Add: 6 tbsp honey or rock sugar 1 Cup milk or soymilk

Matthew Childs is a lover of fine Asian teas and owner of Indigenous Teahouse with business partner Jeremy Poore, located at 144 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville, NC. Indigenous is a local gathering place and community forum serving homemade edibles and dedicated to using local, seasonal, organic products whenever possible. Contact them at 828-252-0021 or

For more delicious recipes, visit
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Title Annotation:New Life Journal's 2004 Cookbook
Author:Childs, Matthew
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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