Crisp, clear air, and a cool breeze whistles through brightly colored leaves. Kids run and jump into inviting leaf-piles while trails remain crunched underfoot… Back-to-school sales, cooler temps, fruit pies, comfort food, and the pungent, spicy aroma of warm chai tea… Mmmm…
These are the sights, sounds, and feels of autumn…
Since we have moved to Oklahoma, the natural signs and temps of impending fall are not obvious until the end of September. The South is one of those few locations where the kids can go trick-or-treating in flip-flops. Since the dates for school beginnings have arrived earlier here than in Washington, there have been very few reminders that fall is in the air… So I have resorted to create my reliable standby: good ole chai tea.
So what, exactly, is chai tea?
After some research, I discovered that the word “chai” is a Hindi word which means: tea. “Chai” (chy) is also derived from the Mandarin term “ch’a,” which also means: tea. The spice-filled, flavorful tea was brought to the U.S. from Britain, who adapted their version of chai tea from India’s masala chai. The aromatic spices combine to make the tea flavor vary from sweet to tangier. The final product depends completely upon one’s personal preference. More common versions of the tea utilize a combination of cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and cloves. Ancient origins of the tea suggest its use as a medicinal remedy for upset stomach (ginger), tension (cardamom), respiratory (cinnamon), or pain relief (cloves).
The increasing popularity of chai tea in Western culture has made the beverage readily available in most supermarkets. However, if one wants to dig deep into the roots of extracting the most benefits from chai, I would heartily recommend brewing it from scratch.
But where does one obtain the means to make it?
Obviously, this operation is a process, which takes not just some time, but also some resources. The solution is to find a source which can provide the materials to produce an adequate sample of delicious tea. The company I am referring to is none other than “Grow and Make.” This delightful resource provides DIY kits of ingredients, materials, and instructions for creating, not just a brilliant and delicious chai tea, but other edibles, crafts, and even gardening projects.
I chose to experiment with chai tea, which is my beverage of choice — after coffee — for those cool, autumn days. My kit came complete with cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves, ginger pieces, and cardamom pods. (Where would one find cardamom pods, anyway?) All ingredients arrived in a carefully packaged box, which included a mesh ball for your spices, cheesecloth for straining the tea leaves, and of course, the all-important recipe. The entire package could make up to a gallon of delicious chai tea.
And the results?
My mesh ball was a little on the small side. Undaunted, I stuffed in as much of the ingredients as I could and sprinkled a few extras into the water. I heated the water to a slow boil and simmered everything, keeping the pot covered to hold in the flavor. The results, to be sure, were nothing short of amazing. And the great thing was that I still had plenty of spices left for another batch of tea. I poured a ladel or so of hot tea while adding some honey and milk into a mug and sipped the piping freshness.
This was my first experience with Grow and Make, but I can positively endorse their tea kit. I also anticipate ordering more kits, as our family continues to search for resources for indulging new experiences.