Chai - Our Amazing Thunder Mountain Chai
Thunder Mountain Chai – A Chai worth trying!
Let's talk Chai for a moment! There are so many different kinds of Chai, and there are options as to how one chooses to 'take their Chai.' Personally, I have not always been a fan of Chai. It seems that everywhere one travels, even here in the USA, each cup is different.
One thing for sure, I don't want one laden with sugar. Another thing, I want one with some depth to it. Once while in Boulder, CO, my daughter and I went to this awesome little tea house, sat out on the patio in the fresh air, feeding off the Rockies, and I ordered a Chai. I really thought the experience would be over the top. It wasn't. The Chai was fragrant, but it fell flat. It was filled with frothy milk, but as I said, there wasn't any depth to it. As I sipped, I began to realize that I probably needed to devise my own recipe for this.
Then I got really serious about it all. I ordered in different products, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lots of black tea, black pepper, cardamon, both in the pods and the seeds. I tried fennel. I tried everything imaginable. What I came up with is what has come to be known as our Hearty Chai.
Now, I am working on several different blends of Chai and will be sharing them with you in the coming weeks. One is the Vanilla Chai. Stay tuned for the fun and games. Let's see which one is most popular.
Directions: When making a cup for myself, I use 1 TBSP of the blend and put it in a paper filter (available on this site) or a regular tea strainer. Put it in the mug and pour boiling water over it, cover and let sit 5 minutes. This allows the spices to let loose of their flavors. I drink mine straight, and I noticed down on the street in downtown Boise every Saturday, most of the tea drinkers prefer it that way. They are thrilled there is no sweetener used, and no milk. Then again, there are people like my father, who at 90 years old, has discovered my Chai with whipped cream over the top (see picture above). This he loves.
With that whipped cream thought in mind, a couple of weeks ago I was home playing around wondering what I would do for a sampling of my spices that I blend by hand at the local Boise Cooperative. I was lucky enough to have my Mexican spice blends to sample on Cinco de Mayo. I took the Chai and whipped cream, then sprinkled my Border Blend over the top and it was fabulous! What a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It was a hit for sure.
Back to the 'how to' section. If you prefer milk or a milk alternative, I then take the mug I will be using, and fill with a little over half with water, and then a little over half with milk into a pan. Bring to just below boiling. Add the filter with spices, and twist the end of the filter, then cover with lid holding the filter in place. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the filter and set aside to reuse again. Pour the Chai into your cup. If you want to froth milk, do so and add, but if I am frothing my milk, I usually don't add the milk at the beginning. Whichever way you like is fine. Remember, it takes longer for the spices to ‘let loose’ of their flavor and fragrances than it does tea, so be sure to simmer.
Fall and Winter are great times to share a Chai with your family, but Iced Chai for the summer months is really good, too. Just as a reminder, many restaurants add sugar to their Chai, we don't, but if you feel the need for a touch of sweetness, sugar or honey should work fine.
Try our Thunder Mountain Chai. You won't be disappointed. This chai has real texture and depth to it.
About this tea...
Hearty Chai – A Chai worth trying! Assam tea blended with Cinnamon, Cardamom (both pods and seeds), Cloves, Anise, Ginger, Pepper, Orange and Lemon peel, and a touch of Licorice for sweetness (so we don’t have to add a sweetener) and Ajwain, for that authentic flavor.