At the beginning of September I was having some strange abdominal pains. I still don't know what they were exactly. Since I am my own health-care provider (in my mind), I started eliminating variables. First I thought maybe it was an electrolyte problem. I drank a bunch of gatorade, and also got some of those fizzy packets that are specifically for boosting electrolytes. ("It's got electrolytes—it's what plants crave!")

This didn't really help. My next step--eliminating carbonation. Maybe all the seltzer that I drink every day (plus occasional beers and sparkling cocktails) was actually causing some sort of gas thingy. So I stopped drinking all those things... no dice.

How about my main squeeze coffee then? Was that the problem? I stopped drinking it just to see what would happen. Two days later I felt great! Pains were gone, and so was the occasional dizziness I was starting to feel. I just missed my morning beverage (and did not relish caffeine withdrawal headaches). The Saturday Farmer's Market offered the solution. CHAI! What I once heard described as "a hug from inside"--yum!

We're lucky to have a local chai producer, Chai Wallah, offering his wares (both the chai blends and chai itself) at the farmer's market. Chai Wallah blends are also available at other places around town. I stopped by the booth and got a quick lesson in making my own chai!

Here's the deal: First, heat 50-50 milk and water. I use soymilk just for the heck of it. I measured how much my travel mug will hold so I use 3/4 cup soymilk and 3/4 cup water. While the liquid heats, prep the chai blend in a small container. I mix 1 tsp blend (I use the spice only--you can also get it already mixed with tea or rooibos), 1 tsp loose black tea (I use Irish Breakfast), and 1 tsp sugar.

When the liquid starts to boil, throw in the dry ingredients and stir. I find that it WILL boil over, so you need to stand by to lift the whole thing off the heat when that starts to happen. I turn it way down but still try to simmer it. Just 2-3 minutes of simmering makes the perfect infusion. (Chai Wallah said that boiling it longer will make a sweeter mixture--and also darker.)

Finally, strain the hot chai. Here it's going into my favorite mug. Amazing how I can do all this AND take a photo, eh?

Travel mug ready for lid and then the car cup holder.

Obviously there are lots of ways to make chai. I'm just starting to learn about it and I like the Chai Wallah blends just fine. I've dried the black tea mixture and the Spice Only mix. I find the latter a lot more gingery, though that's not a problem. (Perhaps when it's cut with tea it's just not as strong.) I'd like to try the rooibos but I'm too in love with black tea to do that anytime soon...

For a completely different take on chai, check out this ArtJournal post--
It has draw-rings!


Erin said...

Oooooh! Thanks for the link! I have trouble with coffee too, even though it's my favorite. I want to make my own chai! Since it's $4-5 at the coffeeshops - more of a treat thing, not everyday thing... Love your blog!

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Yay, thanks Erin! Chai seems so easy to make, though because it tastes so exotic and fantastic seems it should take hours. Hope you give it a try and love!