Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tealicious Masala Chai Tea Recipe

I remember coming across a masala chai packet in Ahmedabad where it is most popular. The Gujjus love tea and the only competitor is the ice cream not beer mind you. Gujarat is a dry state and only way one can consume alcoholic drinks is through permit avialable for outsiders and for those on health stick.  

Hence spiced tea is very popular. In Ahmadabad tea is virtually Mary's Little Lamb as where ever you go the stalls are waiting for you. There are many stalls with small stools selling the dark liquor along with butter buns and you name it.  Collegians, Majnoos, Businessmen all look for these seats and while away there time in a meaning full or junk banter everyday.   

Chai Thelas on the dusty desert roads...absolute fun.  

Anyway coming back to masala chai I discovered few ingredients which suit my cup very well. 

Here goes 

Dry Ginger One Piece (Saunt)
Clove        ( 1 or 2)    
Few Peppercorns
One Almond 
One Pistachio 
One or Two Cardamom Pods 
Jaiphal Scrapings (Nutmeg) 
Cinnamon Powder small quantity 
Licorice small quantity 

Add this in proportion as stated above and taste. I have been vague on proportions as to cater to individual taste. Try adding other suitable spices like saunf etc. 

You can add this to the brew and even milk for children. It is wonderful cough medicine as well. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tealicious Tea Bags or Premium Loose Blend

While a majority of tea lovers use a bag filled of leaves it is not every one's cup. The advantage of this packaging is that you can carry it everywhere and make an instant cup with the hassle of straining. Though the water still has to be brought to a boil the process nevertheless is much quicker.    

Discovered by accident by an American merchant Thomas Sullivan today's packaging is far more advanced than earlier, with hygiene in place. These square or hexagonal shaped paper bags are filled with various blends of teas generally less than premium stuff because of cost but nevertheless quality driven.  

A large populace is immersing these tea bags as a habit inculcated specially when new to the magical brew. They have never tried or want to experience the exciting World of blending the leaves which abound in variants and varieties. 

Does this mean that blending is a mathematical puzzle?

Well yes and know. If you are master blender employed by a major tea house the art comes easy. If you are a connoisseur the art is easier what with no limitation placed by the company. But for amateur it needs lot of immersion in the World of tea leaves. One has to learn the flavors and what they produce in conjunction. 

This is a full fledged activity blending teas from all over the World and producing master blends that tingle your tongue and nostril so that you reach the peak of flavor. Believe me you as a novice can indulge in the passionate world of  blending leaves of camilia sinensis. All most all the variants and varieties are available online buy them and say Cheers!

   

Making a Tealicious Blend

Tired of same spoonful of leaves in your morning cuppa...here is a suggestion. Invest in different kinds of tea:

Assam Black Tea

Nilgiri Leaf from the blue mountains 

Darjeeling Premium Certified Leaf 

The Assamese leaves impart color and strength to the brew while the Nilgiri leaves in the blend make it as astringent without which the taste would be flat and boring. Lastly the Darjeeling leaves add to the magical aroma the gardens are famous for.     

Blend these leaves in equal proportion or reduce percentage of Darjeeling tea as the cost is much higher. Anyway add as per your taste and get a wonderful blend. 

It is best to buy premium varieties of CTC leaves of all varieties if you wish to achieve  fantastic taste and aroma to hit your sensory apparatus. If you are health conscious you can buy the organic leaves which are by all means expensive as compared to the non organic forms.     

The brew should be on the stove for more than three minutes if you wish  for all the flavor to peculate. Excessive boiling will lead to make the brew bitter which not all consumers prefer. 
 

Indian Tea Rising Prices

The cost of food overall has risen during this decade so have the prices of tea. Albeit production cost of this leaf has not risen sharply but the marketing expenses involved and the social cost  of production makes a major dent on the price chart. 

What is social cost?

Well this is a payment made besides the wages for labor welfare vis a vis education of children and health of the workers. This and rising cultivation cost has kept many gardens away from making profit. 

India consumes almost 1000 million kgs of this product yearly. It has to import the leaves from countries like Kenya and Sri Lanka. But the home production is riding very fast making it imperative to increase consumption here as well as increase exports in order to ride much above the break even mark.    

The Tea Board of India is planning a series of advertisements in order to boost the store able cold form or iced tea. The advantage this form offers is its attraction for younger audience as well as the attractive packing.

Another advantage is that it is instant and does not require any preparation unlike
Iced Mint Tea

Lemon Iced Tea

Tea Garden

Chai.
its cousin the hot beverage.  

Photo Courtesy: Wagh Bakri Tea Company