Chai tea is a nice alternative to coffee. Its full bodied flavor and warming spices go perfectly with a hearty splash of milk. Chai tea originates in South Asia, but is also very common in India. It is composed of black tea leaves mixed with a variety of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, peppercorn, nutmeg and coriander. There is no concrete recipe in making chai, which is why it’s so easy to make yourself. Simply purchase black tea leaves and create your own concoction using any combination of the above spices. Along with adding milk, sweetener can also be added to enhance the flavor of the spices. Honey goes nicely with this.
I personally prefer to brew from loose leaf teas rather than the pre-packaged tea bags that have been sitting on supermarket shelves. Loose leaf tea is a bit more moist and fresh, and lends a better flavor. If you have several different teas on hand, you can mix and match, creating your own tea variations.
I got this tea from the Dandelion Cafe (obsessed, I know), but Teavana also has a great selection and they’re very knowledgeable about their teas. Or, search for a local tea and spice store in your area – it’s fun to smell all the different teas
Although black tea (like green tea) offers 1/3 of the caffeine found in coffee, it contains some pretty potent antioxidants, specifically theaflavins, which fall under the antioxidant class of polyphenols. Several studies indicate the following beneficial effects of theaflavins:
- Reduce vascular inflammation, helping to control atherosclerosis
- Aid in the reduction of cholesterol
- Influence cancer cell death in some cancers (prostate, colon and breast)
- Help to lessen the negative effects of chemotherapy