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Beverages

My chai tea

Preparing a single cup of chai is as easy as raiding your spice cabinet. Here is my current favorite recipe. One of the pleasures of chai is changing the spice mix according to the season and your mood Feel free to add or delete the spices and adjust the sweetness.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tea and chai spice mix. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a prewarmed mug and stir in the sugar to taste.

My chai tea spice mix: In a cup or small bowl, blend together 1 tablespoon ground cardamom, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 tea spoons ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper. Store in a clean opaque glass or ceramic jar with a screwtop lid or tight-fitting cork. Give the jar a good shake to help distribute the different ingredients before removing the spice mix for brewing. Makes a scant 1/4 cup.

Leapin' lizards chai tea

My friend Kathlyn Meskel says the name of her chai comes from her reaction the first time she savored a sip of this brew. I think you’ll agree: it’s got flavor and packs a kick.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chai tea blend. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a prewarmed teapot or pitcher, and stir in the sugar.

Leapin’ lizards chai tea blend: With a mortar and pestle or a meat tenderizer, coarsely grind, crush, or crumble 2 tablespoons green cardamom seeds, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, and one 4-inch cinnamon stick coarsely chopped. In a quart-sized plastic bag, place the spice mixture and 1 cup of loose black tea leaves. Blow into the bag as if blowing up a balloon. Once it's inflated, hold the bag shut and shake until the ingredients are well combined. Store in a clean, opaque glass or ceramic jar with a screwtop lid or tight-fitting cork. Give the jar a good shake to help distribute the different ingredients before removing any tea for brewing. Makes 1 cup dried tea blend, or 48 servings.

Green tea chai blend: Follow the recipe for Leapin1 Lizards Chai Tea Blend, substituting a green tea such as a Sencha for the black tea. Proceed as directed.

Amanda's blend

Blending your own signature tea is easy to do, especially when there are several complementary teas and tea blends that you like. My friend Amanda Baines Ashley mixes her three favorites co make this blend. Those of us lucky enough to be in her office at four o clock get treated to a cup of her brisk and delightful tea. I like it best with milk and sugar.

Place the loose tea leaves in a large mixing bowl and stir until well blended. Store in a clean, opaque glass or ceramic jar with a screwtop lid or tight-fitting cork. Give the jar a good shake to help distribute the different ingredients before removing any tea for brewing. To use, measure 1 rounded teaspoon for each 6-ounce cup of freshly boiled water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes.