September is a month of wonderful wimsical filled days. The first day of Fall is in September, my birthday is in September and National Chai Day is in September. Yesterday was National Creamed Filled Donut Day and the 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. I’m not kidding, if you look at the Events Calendar for September you will be amazed. I’m embarrassingly thankful to share I didn’t know about National Creamed Filled Donut Day. If I did I may have been the first customer at the bakery yesterday morning and since celebrating National Chai Day is a lot safer for me, let's celebrate that one together.
I didn’t jump on the Chai craze right away. I went to Starbucks and ordered my usual Grande Americano with heavy cream and one sweet-n-low for years after Chai became a thing on the Starbucks menu. The Americano was my go to drink until I knew I couldn’t ignore the draw of tea any longer. I thought Chai would be a good transition drink. I would benefit from strong flavors I love while feeling like I was a loyal tea drinker.
“Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea” which is derived from “cha”, the Chinese word for tea. Chai dates back thousands of years and legend says it was created when a King ordered a healing tea to be made specifically with spices and herbs. One of the beautiful things about tea is we can create recipe combinations to come up with amazing flavors and benefits. Chai is one of those recipes that puts a smile on many faces while nourishing the body with its delicious health benefits. Look closely at the picture above, each ingredient represented is essential for the proper Chai combination and boy do they look inviting.
I think Chai tastes like Thanksgiving and Christmas wrapped into one beautiful aromatic cozy cup of goodness. If you haven’t tried it, this is the year to take a leap of faith and jump off the edge of your comfort zone. If you find it is too strong, I recommend putting a lot of cream in it, or milk or water it down a bit. Find the right gentleness for your pallet then begin decreasing the amount of extra liquid you add, a little bit at a time, until you acclimate to the full flavor throttle of the experience. You will eventually come to love this amazing tea.
With giddy excitement, I just bought an electric frother to make Chai Latte’s at home. I am in heaven and waiting on the mail man to deliver my Steeped Tea Chai order. I will do a Facebook live when I get my frother to demonstrate how you can make a Chai Latte from home as well. Yippee!
I am amazed when I think of the Bible and the many spices that are mentioned. Spices were of great value and a commodity to be traded, sold and given as gifts. The Bible says the Queen of Sheba, gave large quantities of spices to King Solomon, it says, “...There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.” 1 Kings 10:10b. When I put my imagination cap on I try to picture what that must have looked like, and smelt like. They were not delivered in the convenient small Schilling glass jars we purchase at the grocery store. These were delivered by the pound. Pound by pound the spices came on carts, drawn by horses for miles and miles. Day after day they traveled to deliver this great gift of health and wealth. If people couldn’t see the entourage coming, I’m sure they could smell it. Can you image, spices from around the world being presented as a gift of great value? Today we sprinkle them on our dishes or recipes, sometimes spilling them onto our counter and wiping them off without giving it a second thought. If COVID-19 has taught me one thing, it is to slow down and appreciate those spilt dried pieces of herbs and spices. I am more aware, minimizing, appreciative and less wasteful. I have stopped, we have stopped, the world has stopped and now I want to go out to the garden and pick a bunch of herbs and spices to smell, savor and appreciate.
Next Monday the 21st is National Chai Day and I hope you will celebrate with me by grabbing some of your girlfriends and going to an Indian Restaurant for a cup of Chai, or go to Mars Hill Coffeehouse here in Hollister. Maybe you can even get creative and give a gift of one of the Chai spices. They are cardamom, black peppercorn, clove, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, anise, vanilla bean and nutmeg. There are a wide variety to choose from. I challenge you to pick one. Tie a ribbon around it, write a note card to someone you love and bless them with the gift of value, straight out of the Bible. Tell them they spice up your life and your life has more flavor because they are in it. They will be intrigued by your creativity and maybe they will bake you something sweet with it, or, maybe, just maybe, they will make you a cup of Chai.