I have had good chai and I have had bad chai. But sometimes, the best chai is easy chai.
In the spirit of this, I made some instant chai mix. Also, a bag of this makes a good gift.
3 cups vanilla sugar
3 cups powdered milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp cardamom
Mix everything together in a bowl. At this point it will look grainy and not terribly appetizing.
But through the magic of food processing, it becomes a lovely uniform powder. You’ll probably have to do a few different batches in the food processor, unless you have a mondo one. This recipe makes about 3 pint jars full of mix. The jar of instant tea I bought had the perfect amount for making this recipe twice.
To make a cup, mix hot water with 2 Tbsp of mix. You can also cool it off and pour over ice. It’s really good both ways.
Fun fact: chai is the Hindi word for tea so saying chai tea is a little redundant.
We tried a very haphazard version of mint tea using lemon mint a few days ago. This time I used peppermint and actually dried it before brewing.
I took the peppermint leaves and dried them in my dehydrator. You could air dry them too, it would just take longer and I already had the dehydrator running. If you do air dry them you can hang them upside down in a paper bag. Make sure they have enough room around them for air to circulate and leave them for a few days. The time they take to dry will depend on your weather. The paper bag is to keep dust off of them.
After I dried the leaves I ground them in my mortar and pestle and put about a tablespoon of the ground up leaves in a reusable tea ball. Then I put that in a pitcher of hot water and let it brew for a few minutes. Then I put the pitcher in the fridge and had some cold later. It was really good. I was afraid it would not be minty enough and the hero was afraid it would be too minty, but it was perfect. A very refreshing and healthy drink! I suspect it would be good hot too.
Lemon mint is a type of mint that smells very lemony when you tear a leaf in half.
It also makes a light and summer-y beverage. My dad grows lemon mint and he decided to try this today. Take a couple handfuls of leaves and haphazardly crush/tear them up in your hands. You probably would get a stronger flavor if you ground them up more in a mortar and pestle. Take the leaves and stems and cover them with just enough water so they are mostly covered and put it to a boil. Keep the water boiling for about 10 minutes and then strain out the liquid. Add sweetener of choice to taste. We used agave nectar, but you could also try sugar, honey, maple syrup, maybe even molasses.
Pour over ice and enjoy. It was good, we think the very slight lemony flavor needs something to compliment it. Maybe a bit of orange zest or something. We don’t know but suspect other mint that doesn’t have the lemon flavor might not need that.
You could also try making this as sun tea, where you place the leaves and water in a clear container (preferably glass) and leave it in direct sunlight all day. By dinnertime, you have a yummy drink.
It would be interesting to try various mixtures of herbs such as peppermint and basil. Or maybe cilantro. What ideas do you have?