I really love chai.

The darker the light turns in autumn, the colder the mornings and evenings are, the more I crave spicy chai tea. I just want the stimulation, I want to TASTE something, to counteract the bland chill of life.

Yet I really dislike commercial chai teas.

For one thing, they are FULL of sugar. I don’t need that much sugar in a drink I am going to have five times a day. For another, there are a lot of ingredients I can neither identify nor pronounce in the commercial packets. I don’t really want five mugs of glycomystery every day.

I want tea/em>. I want tea that tastes good.

So I’ve been making my own chai.

Here’s where I’m at this autumn:

2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
16-30 dried cardamon pods
2-3 teaspoons preserved crystallized ginger

Grind those together in a spice grinder (aka a coffee grinder.)

Add three heaping teaspoons of loose-leaf black tea, like an English Breakfast blend or something.

Shake it all up in a bag or a tin or something. Makes three servings.

To serve:

Pour about a half-inch of half-and-half, milk, or cream in the bottom of your mug. Put your tea blend into the strainer or tea-ball of your choice. Let the water get really hot — boiling, as it needs to heat the cold milk. Pout the water into the mug, let sit about five minutes. Remove the strainer, drink.

To make it spicier, add 2-4 black peppercorns or cumin seeds to the initial mix, making sure they get chopped up in the mix.


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