Bhakti Chai

Mural at a local ayurvedic cafe.

Mural at a local ayurvedic cafe.

Other than my once-a-month quest for dark chocolate mousse, I do not use sugar in my cooking. Lately, this has caused quite a dilemma for me because I’ve had a tremendous hankering for chai! Chai is tea made with milk, spices and yes–sugar.

But I don’t drink milk and I avoid sugar. I tried ordering chai at the local coffee shop a couple times, made with soy milk, but the chai part is pre-mixed and you cannot get it without the sugar. And it is, in my opinion, way too sweet. I knew I wouldn’t continue ordering it and I also knew I probably wouldn’t make it myself at home. Sigh.

There are lots of things I do take the trouble to make myself even if it seems time-consuming. Nothing but the best for me and my family! Most of the time when I write about food and cooking here, I am talking about making things yourself, with high-quality ingredients you yourself have chosen and not falling for poor substitutes of pre-made, pre-packaged food. Even from the natural food store!

Then my beautiful young friend Lindsay started talking about chai and how she makes it at home. She said she buys a chai concentrate made with real ginger and traditional spices that is UNSWEETENED!!!!

I couldn’t believe my ears! We went over to the local Whole Foods and to my enormous delight they carry the very chai concentrate Lindsay was telling me about. It is called, “Bhakti Chai” and comes in a quart or larger size in the dairy section.

I read the ingredients: organic fair trade black tea, organic fresh-pressed ginger, organic cardamom (love that stuff!), black pepper, and other spices. That’s it! And it is non-GMO which is very good news.

I was so excited to try my first chai which I made by mixing the concentrate with coconut milk and heating it. Oh! Oh! Yes! That ginger was the dominant flavor and the other spices were in perfect harmony with it. The next day I made it with almond milk. The almond milk was also excellent, but I vote for the coconut milk as being the best choice of the two. I’m sure you can use soy, rice milk or regular milk if you drink that. On the label they suggest several other ways of drinking the chai without any milk at all and one of them is–ready for this–in chocolate! (Yes, the wheels are indeed turning regarding a chai-themed chocolate mousse.)

Here’s to the warmth of fresh ginger and cardamom in a delicious chai tea!

I know some of you have much more expertise when it comes to tea than I have. Have you tried this tea? Did you like the amount of ginger in it? Do you make your own chai?