Monday, November 29, 2010

The Perfect Cup of Chai

Congratulations to Kathi Barton ~ winner of A. Faris' favorite tea and a copy of her book, Out Of Joint!

By A. Faris

There is something soothing about a cup of tea. Coffee energizes, lemonade refreshes and tea, well, everyone knows tea is soothing. But there can be something truly decadent about a cup of spiced tea.

Masala chai originates from the Indian subcontinent and the recipe varies from region to region. Individual households may even have recipes of masala chai of their own, but they all marry tea and spice together.

So, how do you make a cup of masala chai? Take tea, usually a strong black tea like Assam tea, a melange of spices, and blend them together. Pour in freshly boiled water. Sugar and warm milk are added.

What you get is a heady brew, with the warmth of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorn. Smell the smooth cardamom, balanced by the sharp piquant note of ginger. The syrupy cinnamon wood. The complex scent of cloves ties the chai together. Sugar rounds off the spiciness while the creaminess of milk adds depth to the brew. Curl up with a good book and there you have it, a recipe for recovering from the horror of Christmas shopping.

What is your favourite way to unwind after braving the crowds? Unless, of course, you are one of those who have done your shopping way in advance, or online, clever people!

To spread good ol' Christmas cheer, with an Asian twist, I will be sending a lucky reader a box of my favourite blend of chai, and a copy of my book, Out of Joint, a time travel paranormal set in the Victorian era. Just leave a comment with your email to enter the draw!

A Faris

Author Email




  1. I so adore the smell of chai! I almost enjoy the smell more than the taste! I'm braving the crowds today, so how I will unwind at the end? I may just take a hot shower and have a good cry. Then tackle revisions!

    Though a good chocolate chip cookie before I leave the mall...yeah, maybe I can trick my brain into being in that energy! I'll try!

  2. I love chai! But today I had a gorgeous caramel tea with almond milk and Stevia (sugar sub). My sister and daughter and I shared a pot and it was so delicious. I am a coffee lover, but tea--and all its ceremony--never gets old.

    Thanks for this post, it made me warm!

  3. The chai sounds delicious, but I don't like sweet tea, so I think I'll curl up with a nice long vodka and tonic!

  4. I adore Chai! It's like an spicy version of sweet milk. Yum!!

  5. I love chai. If you really want to mess with your head, add chai powder to your coffee. Yummeee!!!

  6. I love Chai tea and the rich flavor. I haven't had a cup in a while, but I think I'll get one today. I usually unwind with black tea and lemon, but you brought to mind a love I need to rekindle

  7. Coffee addict here! ~waves~ But I'm southern and "sweet" tea is a staple of life. =D That said, I'm not a big sweet tea drinker. I'm not a classy tea drinker either and I can't say that I've ever tried Chai tea, but Lipton has a great Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea that I loooove. I add local honey to it and sip with great sighs of decadence.

    Now, if anyone tells coffee I'm cheating on him with tea...I'll deny every word! ;-)

  8. I am a Chai tea drinker, too! I love books set in the Victorian era!

  9. I love Chai too! But my favorite way to unwind is to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and my husband as a pillow. ;)

    Your post was lovely and new info to me too. Thanks!

    Miranda ~ Sweet Vernal Zephyr Reviews
    mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

  10. All righty, where's my favorite cup? And the honey, must have honey.

  11. Thanks everyone for dropping by and leaving a comment!

    @ Kimber An: Which kind of honey? The human form or the bee by-product? Hee. Like Sweet Vernal Zephyr, I think husbands as pillows enhance the experience
    @ Heather: Caramel tea? That sounds delish...hmm, shall have to go hunt that down. :)

  12. After years of not drinkiing anything hot (I know strange, eh) I'm just waking up to the wonders of tea. That is, due to dietary concerns, herbal non-caffeinated tea.
    I wonder if they make a non-caffeinated chai?

  13. i love chai, and book... i think that is a great mix right there. i def enjoy a nice day jsut sitting and drinking chai and read all the books i can read w. in a day. that be the best day ever lol!!!

  14. Mmmmmm. I love Chai but not too sweet. I usually stop and get a tall Chai at Starbucks but it's always a "hit or miss" whether they'll get it right! NO consistency at this fast drink joint!

  15. ivenever had Chai but im a huge tea drinker dont drink coffee at all but do love tea in all varities I love green tea with english christmas tea combind its soo yummy great post

  16. I usually have herbal tea--either lemon or peppermint. But, yes, thank you...I am one of the "clever" (read impatient) folks who has done most shopping by now, much of it online.
    (Email in profile.)

  17. I love chai! I drink it a lot this time of year. I first got hooked on it when I was waiting tables at an Indian restaurant when I was in college.

    Jamaica Layne

  18. oh nothing like a good cup of chai and a great book in the winter

  19. Chai tea and orange spice tea are two of my favorite types of tea - so yummy and soothing!

    smaccall @

  20. I've never had Chai Tea, but that Carmel Tea with Almond Milk sounds devine!!
    I like to curl up with a good book & a cup of coffee with chocolate creamer to unwind.


  21. To unwind, I've got to have something spicy. Preferably chips and salsa and a very salty Margarita! Followed by a long, hot bath with candles nearby.

    By the way, I'm obsessed with the Victorian era. Have you had the chance to visit many homes built during that time?

    Thanks for the fun contest!


  22. Everyone's favorite beverage sounds so good. :)
    @ Dina: Funny that. One would have thought they'd be like McDonald's : same food/cup of joe, everywhere.

  23. Hey Carlie. Hmm, I can't say that I have since architecture is not a particular interest of mine. But it is something I should do since I am living in England now. Hee hee. Any suggestions?
    What I do love is Victorian paintings - JMW Turner, John Ruskin are some of my favorite painters, for their technical skills. But Victorian narratives in paintings amuse me - have you seen William Holman Hunt's 'The Awakening Conscience' and John Everett Millais' 'The Order of Release, 1746'?

  24. Hi, my first visit and I love the post. I will be back for more. Chai sure is good.

  25. I love Chai with honey and not sugar. It's awesome. Cup of hot tea, a good book and Christmas lights - what more could a girl ask for. Well among strangers anyway. lol


  26. I have a collection or teas from Teavana to match my moods. Usually after a big day of shopping I settle down with a cup of my relaxation blend that has some lavender in it. It's so soothing!

  27. I worked hard today, shopping and kept in mind the idea of rewarding myself. And when my shopping day was done, I sat in Starbucks with a pepperment mocha and relaxed, thinking about to your blog!

  28. That's the second chai with honey! Hmm, I shall have to try that.
    @ Maureen: Aww, thanks! Hugs!

  29. I found the contact info for the Tea House with the Caramel loose leaf tea. They have a ton of awesome teas and the place is DIVINE if you are ever in the San Fran or Sacramento area (it's in Dixon, CA).

    This is a blog post about the place by a patron, , and below is the contact info for the tea. The lady who owns this donates proceeds to a womens charity and the whole staff is divine.

    In the United States
    Phone: 707-693-TEAS (8327)
    Mailing Address:
    Linde Lane, LLC
    140 North Jackson Street, Dixon, CA 95620
    United States

  30. I love Chai!
    I don't brave the crowds----our family doesn't exchange gifts.

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  31. I tried chai for the first time this year. And that's what I drink for a treat. I didn't have to worry about the crowds because I didn't go shopping. I don't plan on doing much shopping so that's a relief for me.

  32. I love chai, actually any hot beverage makes me happy. I'm very cold-blooded so I tend to drink lots of teas and coffees. And I love the flavor of cinnamon, it's so homey and relaxing.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  33. I'm new to chai, but I do enjoy a cup now and again.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  34. I'm a sucker for a fine cup of hot chocolate! My husband loves chai though, so I've been sneaking a sip from his mug every so often :) I also love spiced cider! And I prefer to shop online--crowds are SO not my thing!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  35. Does chai cure the "Bah, humbugs?" If it does, I need a gallon or two. ;-)

  36. I preffer coffe but once in a while chai sounds like a good idea.
    @flchen1 From where do you buy online?It would be awesome to know , to avoid the holiday crowds.

    raluk.93 at gmail(dot) com