Before you misunderstand my meaning, “coffee” to me means tea. Some people like straight black coffee, thick as motor oil coffee. They usually have husky voices and only answer when called by their last name. Some people like their coffee sweetened with sugar (how old fashioned) or with gelatinous gum-based carageenan-soaked aspartame-infused creamer. Actually I think this last category might be the most popular one. And then there are those who like tea. That’s me. Tea has caffeine too you know.
I’m probably going to write about this a lot because it make my heart go thumpity-thump. I am in love with tea. My favorite tea is Chai (yes it does deserve a capital ‘C’). Those of you in the know will be quick to point out that ‘Chai’ is just the word ‘tea’ in another language…but for those of us born and raised in the western world, ‘Chai’ means something much much more. Chai tea is sweet, milky, spicy and ethereal. It is exotic, calming, refreshing, and absolutely delightful! There are any number of recipes for ‘Chai’ tea but I’d like to share my personal favorite. Most people who come to visit are offered this drink…even if they go by last name only.
In a small saucepan combine:
1/2 stick cracked cinnamon (1 Tbsp cinnamon powder will do in a pinch but it’s kinda mucky and lacks the raspy bite that comes from a fresh stick)
3 pods of green cardamom, cracked open but not pulverized into powder
3 cloves, cracked but not pulverized
1 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled (or not, as you like it) and chopped into little pieces
1 peice of star anise
3 black peppercorns
Pour 1 1/2 cups of filtered water into the pot and bring contents to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then add:
1 1/2 Tbsp dried black tea leaves
Boil your concoction another 2 minutes then remove from heat and add:
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 c. milk (3% makes the BEST tea)
Sip and enjoy. I do believe this drink not only feeds your stomach but your soul as well.