Up until this last week I’ve made my ridiculous stash of Chilli Chocolate Chai from The Love of Tea Byron Bay last. When I heard that Alli was closing up shop I panicked and bought jumbo sized bags to keep me going. The thing was, I knew no matter how much I bought that at some time I was going to scrape the end of the packet. That day has come and so it is now with desperation that I have tried to create my own interpretation.
Chai is a bit of a religion in my family (well, more amongst us females – the men are more into decaf coffee). Mum, my sister Kirst and myself are utterly obsessed with a good chai. The down side of this is that we loose our s**t over bad chia, and unfortunately there is a lot of bad chai to be had.
Whenever I go to a café and see chai on the menu, I am always sure to ask my standard stock pile of questions:
Is it ‘real chai’? – as in, is it actually tea and spices and that’s it? No, it's not? It’s a syrup?... Not interested. See ya.
Or, if the answer is 'no - its not a tea and spice mix, it’s a powder' - that brings me to my next question. What’s in the powder? Is it just ground up tea and spices or is there milk powder and a tonne of sugar? Oh, so there is a list of ingredients that aren’t related to actual tea and spices? No thanks - See ya.
If we do hit the jack pot with actual tea and spices, the next question is - can they brew the chai on milk, latte style? Often this is met with a confused face because the chai tea is served with boiling water and the chai latte is made with the stuff from the bottle. Ahhhhr! If we can get passed this point and have the real deal stuff on hot milk then we are (nearly) good to go.
At this point you’d think it would be finished right? Nope. Next question. Can we please make sure that it’s nice and strong and left to steep the way tea should be? Not just frothed in some hot milk for 30 seconds then poured into a cup. Let the damn tea sit for 5 minutes. I don’t mind. I’m just sitting here soaking in the atmosphere. Don’t rush on my account.
Now I am aware this is highly a first world problem, but I do think that coffee drinkers are given so much TLC in the space of a good coffee that it's only fair for us tea drinkers to ask for the same. No one wants to accept a second rate coffee right? I mean coffee lovers are like smokers (stay with me) that huddle on the street in the freezing cold sucking back on that ciggy - point being they will go to lengths to get a truly good coffee, despite the obstacles. However when it comes to tea, it's for some reason expectable to throw a bag in a cup of hot water and charge you 5 bucks. Wtf?
Perhaps this is what has turned me into a avid out of the box latte drinker. Pimped Up Matcha’s, golden latte’s, mushroom latte’s – you name it I’m there foaming at the mouth for it. Anything that offers something more exciting that a dreary tea bag situation.
So yes, on the flip side of my tea rant, hopefully this choc chilli chai will bring you as much joy as it does for me. I feel like I’ve gotten close to the flavour, but it will never be Alli’s fine blend. That stuff had ground angels wings in it I swear. Some sort of voodoo situation anyway, as it was just too good for words. For now, my own creation will have to do and I am glad to have something instead of nothing. It beats a crappy tea bag anyday.
Place all ingredients in a spice grinder or nutribullet (or hi-speed blender) and blend till all the spices and tea are broken down into a course powder. Store choc chilli chai mix in an air – tight container.
To make a choc chilli chai, add 2 teaspoons of the powder to 1 cup of milk of choice and heat. I like to place mine in a milk frother and froth once, then leave it to sit for 5 - 10 minutes, then froth again to heat once again. Otherwise you can heat your milk in a small saucepan on the stove on a low simmer. Ensure you give the choc chilli tea at least 5 - 10 minutes to brew either way.
To serve, strain choc chilli chia infused milk through a tea strainer into a mug and enjoy nice and hot. Add honey if desired.