I don’t drink coffee.
Caffeine is hard for me to handle; plus I would consume way too much for it to ever be considered beneficial. You know how we still crave the things that aren’t good for us? It would be an expensive and unhealthy addiction. (I’ve been there).
I drink chai tea. Chai tea, for you bean purists, is basically black tea with milk and a bunch of spices added to it. The tea varies in quality and spice selection depending on what you buy (and some people make their own) but typically the spices include cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and pepper. It’s an aromatic delight.
I also usually drink decaffeinated chai tea. It seems ridiculous to drink black tea but take away the one redeeming quality of it, but I do. What I am basically left consuming is some milky, or watery, really sweet spices. It’s more like a sugar rush than a energy-boosting or calming tea.
You can buy chai tea in two ways: in tea bags or the pre-concocted liquid “tea in a box” variety. Either way you add milk, heat, and drink. And the varieties are as endless as there are tea makers.
Recently I asked my husband to pick up some chai mix. I was drinking the Starbucks-used Tazo Chai or else the Orgegon Chai because this is what was available as “tea in a box” at my local grocery store. But my husband stopped in a smaller store and came home with a powder form.
This chai tea powder actually contained no tea whatsoever. The ingredients (remembering that ingredients are listed from most used to least used in quantity in a product) are a blur of sugar… cardamom, ginger, black pepper, cassia, white pepper, and nutmeg. The instructions on the box did not indicate that you brew your own tea and add this mix to your mix. No. It suggested you warm up some milk, add the powdered sugar-spice to the mix, and drink. Just pretend!
The other option available per instructions on the box was if you wanted to make Ginger Chai Tea. Here the trick was not to add ginger. The secret ingredient to making Ginger Chai Tea from a mix that contained no tea was to add water. Apparently water has hidden properties of containing ginger flavouring. Remember this next time you are making stir fry and want to add ginger — just add water!