About Chai and Making Chai
A description of what chai is, how to make your perfect cup of chai, and recipe for chai. How we create a chai that is balanced, rich, delicious and aromatic.
There is something wonderful about waking up to a new day, knowing that we are about to savour our favourite morning beverage from our favourite cup. Life offers these simple gifts to us every day. We here at Shanti Chai & Co believe in these small moments... including in the beauty of handcrafting a perfect beverage.
Let us begin by saying we do not believe chai is a replacement nor a substitute for coffee. Rather, it is it's very own delicious, rich, spiced and aromatic indulgence. In the same way that we come to know and love our own cup of coffee and all it entails-the smell wafting up from the coffee bag, the sound of the beans grinding, the hiss of the kettle, the colour changing as the cream is added-we hope to help you find your very own favourite cup of chai.
In the world of cocktail making, well-balanced drinks are often described as having three legs, comprising a stool. These three legs include: 1. Strong (alcohol) 2. Sweet (i.e. simple syrup) and 3. Sour (i.e. lemon/lime) or Bitter (i.e. bitters), depending on the cocktail. An artfully crafted cocktail will balance these three components to make the perfect drink. An individual's personal preferences will then dictate small changes as they go along, perhaps a bit more citrus here, or a bit less sweetness there. A cocktail should never be overpoweringly one of the three legs of the stool, nor should the different legs compete with one another. They should each act to support and balance the others, for a final creation that is a delight to all the senses.
At Shanti Chai & Co, we have applied similar theory to creating the perfect cup of chai. In this case, however, we have a chair rather than a stool. The four legs we must balance are: 1. Strong (tea) 2. Sweet (sugar, honey) 3. Spiced (cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, ginger, etc) and 4. Rich (milk, cream, milk substitute). We believe the perfect cup is one that contains tea that you can taste but that is not overbearing, a sweetness that is delightful but not cloying, a spiced taste and aroma that is exotic and balanced, and a texture that is silky and subtly creamy. This is the cup that we have created, and the instructions that we send out with every package of Shanti Chai are for this beautiful balanced cup of chai.
That said, as you develop a taste for chai, or if you have enjoyed chai many times already and are excited to experiment and make your favourite cup of chai even more you, you may find yourself wanting to experiment with the four legs of our chai chair-with the strength of your drink, the sweetness or texture, the richness or spice levels. We want you to be able to make YOUR best cup of chai imaginable. We have some hints.
design your perfect cup of chai
1. Too mild? Steep tea for 30-90 seconds longer, to a max of 4.5 minutes.
2. Too sweet or not sweet enough? Play around with the amount of sugar added, or you can try another sweetener, like honey, agave, brown sugar or maple syrup.
3. Want more kick? Add a couple extra peppercorns or a few slices of fresh ginger.
4. Too rich? Try lighter milk (1% or 2%) or a milk substitute such as soy or cashew milk, or use a higher water-to-milk ratio. Too thin? Try higher milk-fat (3.25% +), cream, or a higher milk-to-water ratio.
5. Experiment until you find your perfect cup of chai.
Shanti Chai Recipe
This recipe is for making a single serving of chai. Multiply by the amount of servings you wish to prepare.
1. Pour 1/2 c. (4 oz) water into a skillet or port and add 1 level teaspoon Shanti Chai Spices. Bring to a boil.
2. Add 1/2 c. (4 oz) milk or milk substitute and 2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste). Bring to a gentle boil.
3. When gentle boil occurs, turn head down to low. Add 1 level teaspoon Shanti Tea.
4. Steep for 3-4 minutes, then strain.
5. To create natural froth, pour chai back and forth between two pitchers (optional). Or, if you have an espresso maker, you can steam final cup of chai to create a chai latte (optional).
6. Pour into your favourite chai cup or mug and enjoy!
7. For more tips on how to make your perfect cup of chai, see tips above!