Author Topic: TO: Indian Orthodox. What is the most authentic brand of Masala Chai in the US?  (Read 3604 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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As you know, Masala Chai comes from India. For those of you who have tried it in the US and in India, what are the brands closest to what you have tasted in India?

Here are some brands available.




This tastes strongly of cloves.









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Offline DeniseDenise

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Nothing that comes in a tea bag is likely to be an authentic version of it.


All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

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Nothing that comes in a tea bag is likely to be an authentic version of it.

You are not far from the kingdom. 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

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Offline ZealousZeal

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Anything made by Lipton is bound to be great and authentic. If there's two things they do well, it's tea and rice.
You want your belt to buckle, not your chair.

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Anything made by Lipton is bound to be great and authentic. If there's two things they do well, it's tea and rice.

Anathema!
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline rakovsky

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I knew a lady who had been to the Mideast and came back with a special love for "YELLOW LABEL" Lipton tea. We went to a store run by Arabs and she got a box of it with Arabic writing on the side. Personally though I do not notice a difference between Yellow Label and Regular, and tend to think that Yellow Label is just the name put on it when sold to the Mideast, although for all I know there could be a difference in where the plant leaves come from.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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There are no leaves in Lipton.

It's tea dust. In bags.

So these things you are trying to call chai.  Are tea dust and spice dust. In teabags.

Chai is not that.
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Offline rakovsky

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There are no leaves in Lipton.

It's tea dust. In bags.

So these things you are trying to call chai.  Are tea dust and spice dust. In teabags.

Chai is not that.
Isn't tea dust ground up tea leaves?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline DeniseDenise

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Only if sawdust is the same thing as wood. ;)


Tea dust is a byproduct of making other finer teas. 
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Offline LBK

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and tend to think that Yellow Label is just the name put on it when sold to the Mideast,

No, it isn't. Yellow Label is available in many countries.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline Shlomlokh

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Is it that hard to make your own? If I can do it, anyone can.
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Offline rakovsky

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I tried the Lipton tea today.

It smells like the cinnamon smell of apple cider, but it tastes very similar to regular Lipton tea.

Have any of you tried authentic Masala tea and compared it to tea in the "Chai" boxes of different brands?

I tried chocolate Tazo and it was weaker or had less bite than the brand called "Stash". The chocolate wasn't like chocolate milk or anything even after I added milk.
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Offline rakovsky

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I got some of this at a South Indian store today.

It seems to not have as strong a "gray tea" leave taste as much as lipton, but it seems a bit less herbal than Tazo or Stash brand chai. Still, the store owner claimed that this is the kind of Masala Chai that they normally drink in South India.

Also, whichever brand I use, I include about 1/4 or 1/5 milk, and I prefer mine iced.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 05:30:34 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Should I be using coconut milk?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline NicholasMyra

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You can make chai yourself with spices from an indian store for very cheap. Make sure to include black peppercorns.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 04:00:14 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline rakovsky

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I had about two cups with five bags this morning and have a headache. It's not as "herbal" as Tazo, and it's more like straight, dark "hard" black tea.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 04:42:18 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline Iconodule

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I got some of this at a South Indian store today.

It seems to not have as strong a "gray tea" leave taste as much as lipton, but it seems a bit less herbal than Tazo or Stash brand chai. Still, the store owner claimed that this is the kind of Masala Chai that they normally drink in South India.

Also, whichever brand I use, I include about 1/4 or 1/5 milk, and I prefer mine iced.

I'm pretty sure that putting ice in your Masala Chai was anathematized at the Council of Kottayam in 1867.
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Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

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You can make chai yourself with spices from an indian store for very cheap. Make sure to include black peppercorns.

You are not far from the kingdom.
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

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I'm pretty sure that putting ice in your Masala Chai was anathematized at the Council of Kottayam in 1867.

I can't imagine iced chai.  I just can't. 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Alpo

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Tea bags are a sign of the end times. No one should touch those things.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline TheTrisagion

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This is how I roll with Chai Tea.  I'm probably going to be anathematized, aren't I?

God bless!

Offline DeniseDenise

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yes
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline minasoliman

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My favorite tea...unfiltered black Egyptian tea
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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Offline Alpo

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I've never had an Arab tea. How is it usually like?
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline minasoliman

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heavy, rich, and addictive with some sheesha and card playing
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

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This is how I roll with Chai Tea.  I'm probably going to be anathematized, aren't I?

Yes, and not just because you said "Chai Tea", which, translated into English, is "Tea Tea". 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline DeniseDenise

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This is how I roll with Chai Tea.  I'm probably going to be anathematized, aren't I?

Yes, and not just because you said "Chai Tea", which, translated into English, is "Tea Tea".

In more than one language too....(different spelling, but still valid for this purpose)
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline Alpo

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heavy, rich, and addictive with some sheesha and card playing

You got me convinced. No where's my fez. I need to head to the nearest Arab store right away.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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I have tried about every commercial preparation but none can replicate the chai that I got at Bombay Grill. I am going to try to follow the advice given in this article:

"There is no fixed recipe or preparation method for masala chai and many families have their own versions of the tea. Most chai contains caffeine typically 1/3 that of coffee (if made with a black tea base). The tea leaves steep in the hot water long enough to extract intense flavour, ideally without releasing the bitter tannins. Because of the large range of possible variations, masala chai can be considered a class of tea rather than a specific kind. However, all masala chai has the following four basic components:

Tea base. The base tea is usually a strong black tea such as Assam, so that the spices and sweeteners do not overpower it. Usually, a specific type of Assam is used called "mamri". Mamri tea is tea that has been cured in a special way that creates granules as opposed to "leaf" tea. It is inexpensive and the tea most often used in India. However, a wide variety of teas are used to make chai. Most chai in India is brewed with strong black tea, but Kashmiri chai is brewed with gunpowder tea.

Spices. The traditional masala chai is a spiced beverage brewed with different proportions of warming spices. The spice mixture, called Karha, uses a base of ground ginger and green cardamom pods. Other spices are usually added to this base or karha. For example, most masala chai found on the street, in restaurants or in homes incorporates one or more of the following along with ginger and cardamom, namely: cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, peppercorn, nutmeg and cloves. In the Western world, using allspice, to either replace or complement the cinnamon and clove, is also common.

Traditionally, cardamom is a dominant note, supplemented by other spices such as cloves, ginger, or black pepper; the latter two add a heat to the flavour. The traditional composition of spices often differs by climate and region in Southern and Southwestern Asia.

For example, in Western India, cloves and black pepper are expressly avoided. The Kashmiri version of chai is brewed with green tea instead of black tea and has a more subtle blend of flavourings: almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes saffron. In Bhopal, typically, a pinch of salt is added.

Other possible ingredients include nutmeg, mace, black cardamom, chilli, coriander, rose flavouring (where rose petals are boiled along with the loose-leaf tea), or liquorice root. A small amount of cumin, is also preferred by some people. A small amount of turmeric may be added to aid those suffering from a fever.

Milk. Traditionally in India, buffalo milk is used to make chai. In the United States, whole cow milk is usually used for its richness. Generally, masala chai is made by mixing ¼ to ½ parts milk with water and heating the liquid to near-boiling (or even full boiling). As noted above, some people like to use condensed milk in their masala chai to double as the sweetener. For those who prefer to drink chai without milk, the portion is replaced with water.

Sweetener. Plain white sugar, Demerara sugar, other brown sugars, palm or coconut sugars, syrup, or honey is used. Jaggery is also used as a sweetener, mostly in rural parts of India. While some prefer unsweetened chai, some sugar enhances the flavour of the spices.

Preparation. As chai is prepared by decoction, preparation usually includes straining tea from the solids. The simplest traditional method of preparing masala chai is through decoction, by actively simmering or boiling a mixture of milk and water with loose leaf tea, sweeteners, and whole spices. Indian markets all over the world sell various brands of "chai masala", (Hindi चाय मसाला [chāy masālā], "tea spice") for this purpose, though many households or tea vendors, known in India as "chai wallahs", blend their own. The solid tea and spice residues are strained off from masala chai before serving.

The method may vary according to taste or local custom: for example, some households may combine all of the ingredients together at the start, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately strain and serve; others may leave the mixture simmering for a longer amount of time, or begin by bringing the tea leaves to a boil and only add the spices toward the end (or vice versa).

A common Maharashtrian practice for preparation of one cup of chai is to first combine one half cup of water with one half cup of milk in a pot over heat. Sugar may be added at this point or after. Ginger is then grated into the mixture followed by adding a "tea masala". Although the ingredients may vary from region to region, "tea masala" typically consists of cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, ground cloves, ginger powder, and pepper powder. The mixture is brought to a boil and 1 teaspoon of loose black tea is added. The chai is immediately taken off the heat, covered, and allowed to sit for approximately 10 minutes to allow the black tea to infuse into the chai. The chai is then strained and served."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masala_chai#Traditional_masala_chai

This is not just tea with flavorings, this is an art.

Offline Brigidsboy

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Whatever tea the Assyrians use is the best I have ever had.

I highly support the idea of making one's own chai blend at home and will be attempting it very soon.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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This is how I roll with Chai Tea.  I'm probably going to be anathematized, aren't I?

Yes, and not just because you said "Chai Tea", which, translated into English, is "Tea Tea".
I do like my Tea Tea.
God bless!

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This is how I roll with Chai Tea.  I'm probably going to be anathematized, aren't I?

Yes, and not just because you said "Chai Tea", which, translated into English, is "Tea Tea".
I do like my Tea Tea.

 ;)
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline rakovsky

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I have tried about every commercial preparation but none can replicate the chai that I got at Bombay Grill.

I wonder what they did that was different than the commercial preparations?

Quote
MASALA TEA (CHAI)
Posted on January 29, 2011 in: Beverages

Spiced tea with Ginger, Cardamom & Cinnamon.
Bombay Grill, NY, http://www.bombaygrillnewcity.com/2011/01/masala-tea-chai/

I am not into Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts Masala chai. I read that they load their chai lattes down with tons of sugar (25 teaspoons per 2 cups?), and anyway those cafes sell their tea at a very expensive rate.

The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline DeniseDenise

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I am not into Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts Masala chai. I read that they load their chai lattes down with tons of sugar (25 teaspoons per 2 cups?), and anyway those cafes sell their tea at a very expensive rate.


Maybe because actual tea is more expensive than you think, being used to tea-dust.  ;)
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Offline rakovsky

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I am not into Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts Masala chai. I read that they load their chai lattes down with tons of sugar (25 teaspoons per 2 cups?), and anyway those cafes sell their tea at a very expensive rate.
Maybe because actual tea is more expensive than you think, being used to tea-dust.  ;)

Compare the price of "loose leaf"/"whole leaf" tea to tea in tea bags below:

1. Stash Tea in tea bags
Chai Spice Black Tea
20 Count Tea Bags in Foil (Pack of 6 boxes)
Price:    $18.90 ($0.16 / tea bag) , "Case of six boxes each containing 20 tea bags (total of 120 tea bags)"

http://www.amazon.com/Stash-Tea-Spice-Black-Count/dp/B000CQG8K8
0.07 ounces in 1 tea bag, so:
16 to 32 cents per cup of tea.


2. Stash Tea Organic Chai Spice Loose Leaf Tea
Quote
100 Gram Pouch from Stash Tea
Price:    $7.49 ($2.12 / Ounce)
http://www.amazon.com/Stash-Tea-Organic-Spice-Loose/dp/B006E9O9H6/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1441775272&sr=8-6&keywords=chai+leaf
$2.12/oz times (.07 or .14) oz per cup =
15 cents per cup or 30 cents per cup

3. Chai Teas Trio: Loose Leaf

$17.95: 40 g Chai Green, 40 g Red Chai, 60 g Chai Spice, Loose Leaf, 5 ounces ($3.59/oz)
http://www.stashtea.com/Stash-Tea-Chai-Teas-Trio/dp/B00OGRH2AO?class=quickView&field_availability=-1&field_browse=2858859011&id=Stash+Tea+Chai+Teas+Trio&ie=UTF8&refinementHistory=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Csize_name%2Ccolor_map&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Csize_name%2Ccolor_map&searchNodeID=2858859011&searchPage=2&searchRank=salesrank&searchSize=12
$3.59/oz times .07 oz /bag =
25 cents or 50 per cup

In a specialty cafe, you pay what, $2 for a cup of chai tea, even without the cream? It;s the same thing with cooking. It's much cheaper if you prepare your food at home, except my sense is that cafe beverages are even more overpriced than food.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 01:54:39 AM by rakovsky »
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Not for all the tea tea in the world...
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Iconodule

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I'm pretty sure that putting ice in your Masala Chai was anathematized at the Council of Kottayam in 1867.

I can't imagine iced chai.  I just can't.

Isn't it customary for OO to blend cannabis with their chai?
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Offline DeniseDenise

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You get what you pay for.


(and in the case of Chai,  those are not even chai)



Those are spicey tea dust.
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Offline rakovsky

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You get what you pay for.
(and in the case of Chai,  those are not even chai)
Those are spicey tea dust.
What if you go to a fancy restaurant and pay for Chai, but back in the kitchen they prepare it with tea dust and you don't realize it?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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It turns out that what I had been calling Tazo Thai chai was really Celestial Thai chai. But in any case, my review of it basically remains the same - it is faint like Tazo compared with STASH's brand, except that Celestial Thai Chai has a coconut taste.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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This one sounds like it has the most traditional, complete recipe:



Quote
Ingredients:
    Assam black tea, spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and Chinese star anise), roasted chicory, natural flavor and vanilla bean.
http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products/teahouse-chai-teas/mountain-chai
The only thing I see missing is the fennel seeds.

This, with fennel seeds, sounds like Chinese Five Spice:

Quote
Our Sichuan-style Chinese Five Spice Powder begins with the earthy, spicy, citrusy flavor of Sichuan peppercorns, blended with the refreshingly licorice-like star anise and fennel seeds. But unlike versions commonly found in the US, we slowly add in the star anise and fennel as not to overpower the blend with the aroma of licorice. Then we mix in the rich, warming, sweet flavors of clove and cinnamon until the five fragrances harmonize into one.
http://www.seasonwithspice.com/products/chinese-five-spice-sichuan
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 02:49:12 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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Orthodox Masala Chai


Orthodox Masala Chai, also known simply as Chai is a favorite of many.   It is made from a base of Indian Assam Orthodox Leaves to which various Indian spices are added — including Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Saffron, Cloves, Ginger and Black Pepper.  Not only is Masala Chai a very tasty beverage but the addition of different spices and herbs are very beneficial to the health.
http://robynleetea.com.au/black-teas/orthodox-masala-chai/

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...there is a debate over masala chai (spiced tea). That is, which is better — a nice orthodox tea with real cardamom seeds, pieces of bay leaves and ginger, bits of cinnamon bark, etc., or the ground-to-a-powder stuff that’s sat around awhile in the warehouse and then the store and then on your shelf at home?
http://lochantea.com/index.php?route=pavblog/blog&id=18
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 09:40:43 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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I'm pretty sure that putting ice in your Masala Chai was anathematized at the Council of Kottayam in 1867.

I can't imagine iced chai.  I just can't.



The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20