Black tea with warm spices and honey create the perfect chai for a cold weather
I don’t like plain black tea. Its taste isn’t very appealing to me. So I always try to mix it with other herbs or spices to make it better. I got that from my mom. When the weather gets cold and she wants an afternoon snack or even a light dinner, she makes a cup of black tea scented with cinnamon and cloves and she drinks it along with some toasted bread and a few pieces of cheese. If you’d also like to have your tea the same way, then this blend is ideal and pairs well with some cheddar or gruyere cheese. Dipping the toast briefly in the cup is highly recommended!
If you want to have it plain, then fine by me! Make yourself a big cup, find a soft, warm blanket and head over to your couch. It is a time to relax. From the first smell, you will give in the warm, woody aroma of the cloves, cinnamon, mace and star anise. Then you’ll notice the flowery scent of the dried rose buds and images of oriental gardens will flood your mind. Take a sip and taste all of the above. Immediately you will feel better.
In some cultures, drinking tea is something like a ritual. I am reminded of that every time I make a cup of this recipe. Maybe I don’t have the special equipment Chinese have, maybe I don’t use certain cups and kettles, but when I start drinking this chai I experience a ritual of my own. When the warmth travels from my mouth to my chest, something extraordinary happens. It’s like I’m making a dive, deep into my soul. Even for a brief time, I get to hear my inner self and realize my deep, true needs. I know what’s really important and what’s not. I know that in order for everything around me to be OK, I have to be OK first.
So, what if you had a bad day? What if something didn’t go as planned? What if someone upset you? This tea is here to make it all go away. This tea is here to comfort you. 🙂
Mace is a membrane surrounding nutmeg that has a more delicate and fine aroma – you can read more about mace in seriouseats.com.
This tea will also pair really well with a slice of vanilla cake, or even this lemon coconut olive oil cake. But I believe it will shine if paired with these amazing, traditional, sweet cretan cheese tarts. Try them and tell me what you think!
- 8 cloves
- 2 sticks of cinnamon about 3 inches (7½ cm) long
- 1 star anise
- 1 mace
- 6 dried rose buds
- 2 teaspoons black tea
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Two strips of lemon peel (optional) and sugar to taste (optional)
- In a small pot put two cups of water and the cloves, cinnamon, star anise, mace, and rose buds.
- Bring to a boil, and simmer for one minute.
- Turn off the heat and let rest for two minutes.
- Add the black tea and honey, stir and let steep for one minute.
- Place one strip of lemon peel in each cup and some sugar (if you use).
- With a strainer, strain chai over the cups.