Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Spice Tea - Customize Your Tea

The ever popular Chai Tea, a spice tea originating from India is perfect at this time of the year when cold winds and the  dampness of winter sinks into bones. A warming spice tea is perfect to enlighten your spirits and rekindle your body heat. There are recipes you can make on your own, using a black tea such as Assam, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamon, black pepper, anise, and other spices. Each recipe is determined by your own preferences.

I shop regularly at a large grocery store which most people would say is international, but I'd say it ecclectic. There are wonderful products. Fruits and vegetables I've never seen before. Imagine seeing a persimmon, a kiwi, or a mango for the first time,or tasting a fresh date, first time ever! In the tea and coffee aisle, there are packages I can't read because the language is foreign to me. There, I found a package of Tea India Orange Pekoe tea bags, an Assam tea that brews to a strong malty tea. There was also an Tea India package of Cardamon Chai Tea, made from Assam tea and cardamon. When I opened the package at home, the aromatic cardamon filled the room. I knew there was something special here. Cardamon is also a digestive, something I should take regularly.

When I made the Cardamon Chai tea, I felt there was something missing, a taste profile. I just felt it was empty of flavour, other than the cardamon. On an impulse, I added a slightly crushed stick of cinnamon to provide a sweetness and to round out the tea. This is what I needed. Cinnamon is used to help lower blood sugar by slowing digestion and thus prevents a sudden rise in blood sugars after a meal. Cardamon is used to help with stomach issues such as gas, digestion, heartburn, and to alleviate kidney disorders, sexual dysfunctions, lowers cholestral, alleviates muscular spasms etc...... So now I had a customized Winter Spice Tea. I added milk and a sweetner.

I check the Tea India web site and noted  that this tea was recommended as "the ideal choice for calming your anxiety and soothing those nerves right after your mother in law’s phone call.". Poor mother-in-laws...they sure get a bad rap. Not all are meddling, are they?

And, the good news is that Tea India Cardamom Chai contains 185 mg of Flavonoid Antioxidants per serving. It seems the more spice, the more flavonoids. As for caffeine, in lab tests Tea India Chai teabags of approx. 2.3 gram tea bags contain 67 to 78 milligrams of caffeine.Coffee has double at about 120 milligrams of caffeine. Remember the effects of tea-caffine, your body reacts differently than coffee-caffine. Coffee gives you a quick perk and falls off just as quickly. I know, because I used to drink 9 cups a day. With tea, your system ramps up slowly and the effects are sustained longer. I know because now I drink a lot of tea! So, overall, spiced tea is healthy and a wonderful addition to your winter diet, especially after a morning of shovelling snow!


As I often suggest to clinets, add, your own flavours to enjoy the tea. I liked the convenience of a tea bag. It was a simple as steeping the tea with a small peice of cinamon stick. The result was just the right pick-up and sweetness to the tea to round out the cardamon.