The end of my summer vacation will soon be coming to a close and over the past week I've started to feel the pull of routine calling my name. During the school year, I love drinking chai tea in the mornings. Whether I drink it in my living room chair or during an early morning class, I love starting my days with it's spicy sweetness. In preparation for the fall semester, which starts for me in just over a week, last week I made a batch of my loose leaf chai tea. When I mixed up this batch the weather was hot and humid and rather unpleasant, but yesterday and today we've been graced with a bit of cool crispness. As the rain fell this morning I was able to sit in my living room chair and sip a warm cup of chai with a bit of yarn in my hands for a bit before getting my day started. It was delightful.
Cinnamon Ginger Chai Tea
1 pt cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
1/2 pt darjeeling tea
1/2 pt ginger root, chopped & dried
1/2 pt cardamom pods, slightly broken to release the oils
1/4 pt shatavari root (optional, it's a fabulous root that supports the female reproductive system)
1/8 pt coriander seeds
1/8 pt whole cloves
1/8 pt orange peel, chopped & dried
1/16 pt black pepper corns, slightly crushed
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Use about a teaspoon for an 8 ounce drink. Steep for 5-10 minutes. The roots in the tea usually require a longer steeping time to really release their flavor. Add a bit of honey and cream to taste. Sip and enjoy!
I love this recipe because it's so easy to tweak depending on the flavors you love (or those you don't). I also like that you can add as much tea as you want, meaning you can control the caffeine, which I love. I get all of my loose herbs and the darjeeling for this recipe (besides the shatavari root) at our local food co-op. You can also order them all from Mountain Rose Herbs if you are unable to find them locally for a good price. The cost of this tea should be about the same as if you were to buy an equal number of high quality chai tea bags. So, if you are finding that the herbs at your grocery store are too expensive, look elsewhere. Herbs, in general, should not cost $4-5 for a tiny little container!
As for drying the orange and ginger, if your kitchen is dry and not humid, they will probably dry just fine if you leave them out on the counter overnight. You can also dry them in a low temperature oven for 20-30 minutes, or until they are fragrant and feel dry to touch.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! It's getting me excited for fall, which will be here before we know it!