I friggin' love Chai Latte... with its sweet, milky, spicy aroma. It is one of my favourite treats whenever I go to a cafe. Most of those that I have tried are really sweet and tend to come from a ready mixed powder, so I have started to buy the chai teabags for when I want something a bit less sweet. Last weekend we went to Somersault festival and there was a whole beautiful chai tea tent decorated inside like a berber tent. I bought a chai latte and they crushed the spices and everything in front of you.
My other favourite hot drink is rooibos tea. When I arrived in the UK I had to buy it in South African shops, but it has recently become more popular and you can buy it everywhere now (usually known as Redbush). I didn't actually like Rooibos growing up in South Africa, even though it is a standard in all South African kitchens, I just didn't drink it. But when I moved to the UK and tasted it again one day, I have drunk it ever since. It is so refreshing and tasty. It is also naturally caffeine free and is really good for you, with all sorts of health benefits.
When we were in New York earlier this year, every second cafe was advertising Rooibos Chai. I have heard of it, but hadn't tried it before then... and it was so good!! I came home and thought I'd try and make my own. It is probably easier to buy the tea bags, but quite fun to make your own and you can vary the flavours. I made normal tea, iced tea and chai latte with mine...
Rooibos Chai (Makes about 6 cups)
15 Cardamom Pods
3 Cinnamon Sticks, broken into pieces
3 tsp Ground Ginger
4 Tbsp Loose leaf Rooibos Tea Leaves
Crush and shell the cardamom pods, discarding the pods and keeping the little black seeds.
Add the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and cardamom seeds to a pan and toast over a medium-high heat. Keep stirring to ensure they don't burn. The cinnamon sticks can burn really easily, so keep a close eye on them.
Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and crush.
Mix the crushed spices with the ground ginger and the loose rooibos tea leaves.
Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
I bought some little empty teabags to try out, but you could obviously use any strainer to make your tea. Just use about 2 teaspoons of the spice, pour over some hot water as with any other tea and leave to steep for 3-5 mins. You can leave rooibos to steep for as long as you want and it won't go bitter, so you could just leave the teabag in. I like mine with milk, and it is a naturally sweet tea but you can add a sweetener according to your taste...
Iced Rooibos Chai
Just leave your tea or leftover tea in your teapot to cool. Add a few ice blocks and some honey and enjoy...
Rooibos Chai Latte
To make rooibos chai latte I just mixed 2 teaspoons of the spice mix with a cup of milk and heated them together in a small pot. I think this would be nice to try with some almond or rice milk for a change too. And you can sweeten it with a bit of honey or whatever sweetener you fancy.