It's now November and here in Edmonton and we're starting to say good-bye to the mild weather of fall and hello to the first few snowflakes of winter. Even though the weather is cooler and there isn't as much to do outside, this is one of my favourite times of year for a variety of reasons. I love the cool crisp air and how fresh it feels outside, but also it's my favourite time of year to sit down with a good book and bolder and more full-bodied teas. I really enjoy a good breakfast tea or black tea with a bit of milk and sugar but my favourite is what most of us refer to as “Chai” in North America.
The correct term for chai is “Masala Chai” which basically translates to “spiced tea” but in North America we tend to use the term “chai” to describe all sorts of spiced teas. Chai is originally from India and there are many cultures that have adapted the original chai recipe to suit their own local tastes and ingredients. Chai is truly a global beverage now and you can pick up a mug of it in countries all over the world. Traditional Masala Chai uses black tea as a base and includes a variety of spices such as cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, peppercorn, cloves, star anise and fennel seeds. Other cultures and areas of India and Asia also add almonds, saffron, chili or cumin to their chai blends, so each blend ends up being as unique as the person making it. Chai is typically brewed in milk but can also be made with water, chai is also sweetened usually either with sugar or honey but can even be sweetened using sweetened condensed milk.
At Blue Hour Tea, we created our chai and sticky tea blends through much trial and error, we wanted a chai that is well balanced in flavour and sweetness. We find that most chai blends sold in North America tend to be overly sweet and only taste like cloves. We have created a chai where you can taste all of the wonderful spices that are used to make it, not just one or two.
To make a nice mug of one of our chai blends, the easiest method at home is to take a small sauce pan and add approx. 1 cup of cold milk and add a generous tablespoon of one of our chai blends. Turn on the stove to a medium to low heat and let the milk and chai heat up under it comes to a gentle simmer. Once the chai is up to a simmer, just pour the chai into mugs, through a strainer and enjoy with some friends or a good book!
We hope you enjoy our chai as much as we do. Keep your eyes peeled because later on in the month we'll be coming out with an Egg Nog chai for the holiday season! What are some of your favourite holiday flavours? Comment below and we'll look to create a chai or tea blend from them!