Growing up I was never a fan of chai, but in South Asian traditions chai isn’t just a drink – it’s a lifestyle. My mom literally would not operate in the morning until I made her morning chai for her. I can actually recall not being allowed to wake her up unless I had a mug in my hand. Oh, and it had to be perfect. The right mug, the right 3/4 way full, and the right color. The guidance was “use the color of your skin” – when I was tan in the summer it led to many problems in my household.
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I was the odd one out. I wasn’t interested in this bitter-sweet drink that was more or less: water & milk. In hindsight, I guess this is how non-immigrant kids feel about their parents with coffee. First thing in the morning, afternoon indulgence, and an after-dinner treat. Our family went through more tea bags than I could keep track of. The interesting thing was just how serious these people are about their tea. Male family members actually travel with a teabag in their wallet – yes, you read that right. Nope, not a family picture or $100 bill tucked into the pocket of your wallet – a teabag.
I swear that the two biggest things that South Asians disagree on is India vs. Pakistan cricket and microwave or stove chai. This is a religious argument. People will actually ask how the tea was made before accepting or rejecting the offer to have some. I grew up in a #TeamMicrowave family and my husband was #TeamStove – don’t worry, our parents were very friendly the first time they met (we prepared them).
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Now that we have our own household, we’ve perfected the art of the morning, afternoon, or evening chai. We try to limit it to once a day, but on the weekends anything can happen. Here is our simple formula for foolproof chai that everyone can love:
Teatley Classic Black Tea Bags
Pure Organic Sugar Evaporated Cane Juice
- Add water to the electric kettle. A standard amount is .75L for two people (see marker on kettle)
- Steam water by clicking on the 212 degrees F and click start
- After your water is done boiling, add it to two mugs with a Teatley tea bag placed in the bottom. Be sure to only fill the cup 2/3rds of the way
- Let the tea bag steep in the water for 2 minutes. Cover the mug with a small plate to ensure the heat stays in the mug.
- After 2 minutes, remove the tea bag and add in sugar + honey to your preference. A good rule of thumb is a half teaspoon of each and then increase to your liking. If you are new to Chai and like sweeter drinks – you can start with 1 teaspoon of each.
- Add milk to your chai, I opt for a 2% organic milk until your cup reaches 3/4 full. (Note never fill to the top, ratio is important!)
- Dip a mini Biscotti in your chai and enjoy!
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