View Full Version : Problems with Chai.
12-05-2007, 07:55 AM
I recently picked up some loose chai tea from my local wegmans. I know they have pretty quality foods, so i figured their tea would probably be good as well. So i don't know much about chai, but it smelled good and looked good, so i bought a bunch and went home. I put some in my tea ball (about 1 inch diameter) and poured the hot water over it. After letting it steep the liquid was still very see-through and it tasted terrible. The next day i tried again and the liquid was near opaque and it was delicious. Now everytime i brew a cup i run the risk of it being terrible or great. I can't figure out what causes it. Is maybe the water temperature off? Could it be my tea ball? I even tried using two tea balls in one cup and it was still see-through. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
12-05-2007, 10:15 AM
Usually chai isn't taken straight, traditionally it's taken with milk to tone down the bitterness of the tea and herbs, and a bit of honey (or other sweetener) to bright out the flavor of the spices.
I usually steep mine for a good minute or two until it's pretty strong. Then you'd add the milk and sweetener to your taste, just don't overdo it. Put in just enough milk so that you have a golden brown, and add in the sweetener a little at a time until the bitterness goes away. You can also use cream, or steamed milk like a latte.
12-05-2007, 10:20 AM
Having spent some time in India there are a few things you might consider:-
1. You need to boil the hell out of it in milk and / or water.
2. Usually it's served in small cups (its strong).
3. It needs sugar..lot and lots of sugar...
I have been drinking black tea w/cream milk since I was a kid. The way I learned to brew it was to add the loose tea leaves when the water is coming to a boil. The longer you boil the water the stronger the tea.
One you have reached your desired level to strength pour the tea into a cup (use a tea strainer here) and add milk. Keeping the tea in the boiling vessel will strengthen the flavor of the tea even more. This is a little messy but the tea comes out good every time.
If you prefer tea without milk or cream, try making it with a double boiler. I have some really good tea at Persian restaurants made in this manner.
Hope that helps.
BTW chai tea is like saying coffee coffee.
12-05-2007, 10:33 AM
www.specialteas.com has a lot of good info about the various teas, how to brew them, etc. Also some great sample packs of different teas.
12-05-2007, 12:24 PM
Try serving with milk and honey.
Their Oolong Oriental Beauty (loose tea) is one of my favorites!
Somewhere near the tea is their KMF shaving creams too!
12-05-2007, 01:01 PM
The best chai comes in the form of a liquid that you heat with milk.
I make my own:
in +or- a liter of water in a wide and flat pan simmer
-a few heaping tablespoons of loose black tea (I like Earl Grey, Twinnings is great)
-a few cloves of, well, cloves
-a few bay leaves
-some fresh ginger
-a few peppercorns
-and what ever else is in my kitchen that would blend well with these
I don't measure anything, but don't over do the bay leaf or anise.
simmer it and add a little water every once in a while to replace the stuff that steams off for about ten minutes. Then let it simmer a while to condense a little. When it cools just a bit (not boiling) add a couple table spoons of honey, and then add sugar to taste. Make sure it is still hot while adding sugar or it will taste kind of funky, I don't know why.
Let it cool just a little, then pour it through a rough strainer to get all of the lose tea and chunks of ginger root out, but leave the cinnamon and small stuff in. Put it in an old bottle and throw it in your fridge. It will look like muddy water. When you want some, take it out of the fridge and give it a good shake to mix up some of the stuff that settled, mix it with whole milk, about half chai half milk depending on how strong you want it. Heat it up and it is better than anything you will be able to buy in a store.
In the winter I'll throw a cup on the stove before I take the dog out at night, so when I come in it smells great and I have a treat waiting for me. You can use alot of the same spices and use red wine instead of water and make a great mulled wine (works best with cheap table wine). In the winter it is awesome.
You can buy pre-made liquid chai in most grocery stores, and honestly, its really good, I just like doing it myself because it makes the house smell great. After trying this stuff you will think it should be illegal to call the stuff that comes in tea-bags "chai."
BTW chai tea is like saying coffee coffee.
An (east) Indian friend of mine makes that point whenever the conversation turns to Chai. :whistling:
12-05-2007, 01:22 PM
You may not be brewing the tea long enough. I got the chai sample from specialteas (listed above) and the instructions said to brew the tea a full FIVE minutes...presumably to draw the flavors out of the spices that are mixed in with the tea leaves.
It's also one of the few teas I take with milk and a little honey. I wouldn't like to try it straight. To me it's more of a "dessert" tea.
12-05-2007, 01:36 PM
I can only assume you water is not hot enough.
BTW sweetened condensed milk can make it richer without watering down the tea.
I never acquired a taste for it. Yeech. :thumbdown
12-21-2007, 09:15 PM
As requested by MatthewAlbasi I came up with a more detailed recipe as follows.
Ingredients: the tea, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, bay leaf, and anise are the most important; the rest of the ingredients can be omitted in place of other stuff if you like, this is just what happened to be laying around my kitchen tonight.
3 ½ Tbs. loose black tea (I prefer Twinnings Earl Grey), its very important that you use loose black tea, does not have to be Earl Grey
heaping ½ tsp cinnamon
4 whole bay leafs
9 whole cloves
ginger (I ended up using dried, ground ginger because I had already started drinking and couldn’t drive to the grocery store, just dust the surface of the mixture, literally about 1/8 of a tsp., if using fresh ginger just peel and slice it thin, three or four slices ought to do it)
nutmeg (just dust the surface again)
heaping ¼ tsp whole anise seeds
heaping ¼ tsp whole cardamom seeds
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs. honey
± 2 Tbs. sugar
bring water to a simmer in a wide, flat skillet ( mine is about 14 in. in diameter)
simmer loose tea for 4-5 minutes (I set the stove eye on 5 out of 10, electric)
add each spice one at a time, stirring with wooden spoon for one minute after each ingredient is added, be sure to scrape bottom of pan. Basically, add them in the order in which you want them to be the strongest, I added them in the order listed.
add honey, let simmer for a minute or two
add sugar to taste, remember, your just trying to balance out the bitterness of the tea, the milk you add is already kind of sweet.
you will probably need to add a little water while simmering, you should end up with around 300-400ml of fluid at the end of the process, and it should take about 20 minutes to cook it all down
Let it cool for a few minutes, the strainer I use is about the same coarseness as those colanders which are made out of a wire mesh, you just want to make sure you get all the loose tea, anise, cardamom, bay leafs, and cloves out (anything you could choke on). I usually run it through the strainer once, then take the fluid and pour it across the tea pulp into another container as not to loose the cinnamon, nutmeg, ect. Then I strain it one more time if I see anything unwanted floating or settled in it. It will look like really muddy water.
You can take it just as it is and add it to milk, 50/50 or stronger if you like. The rest you can bottle and throw in the fridge, I find that after about a week it starts tasting kind of funky. Tonight I tried adding a splash of ouzo to my glass, kind of funky, added a liquorice kick to it, not really that great.
Let me know how it turns out, and if you try anything different that works well. Merry Christmas and enjoy…
My wife is of Indian background and I am actually writing this from a friend's apartment in New Delhi where we are spending the holidays. Here they make chai by boiling milk, water, tea and spices together. They then pour this mixture through a filter into cups and serve it with sugar on the side. Its pretty powerful stuff! I prefer espresso but I'm definitely in the majority here. Chai is a big deal in India.
12-22-2007, 06:43 AM
A local restaurant prides itself on chai. There is usually one waiter designated as the maker for the day. You can really tell the difference too. I have been tempted to call ahead and ask who's working before deciding on food.
These folks are local to me and I will recommend them. http://teasource.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?
They have loose spiced chai that requires boilage in milk to be right. They also sell a prepackaged chai masala that when mixed with sweetened condensed milk is a great quick fix for work. I make a cuppa Assam Satrupa and then add a healthy tablespoon of the milk/masala mix or more. My office calls it "dessert tea".
Any of the above recipes work and it all depends on taste.
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