The First Cup: Chai!

I’ve stayed away from black tea for this entire flare-up period because I figured (given my sad-but-necessary breakup with coffee) that a big shock of no caffeine whatsoever would be the best medicine. Naturally, I’m still blaming all my uncharacteristic lethargy on the easy target of prednisone. Today I decided to forgo the peppermint herbal shit and try sneaking some caffeinated goodness back into my unsuspecting gut. The test tea:

Zhena’s Coconut Chai

Ah, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea. So damn expensive for such a little sachet. Also, it’s perhaps unwise to begin with a tea marketed as “robust and full flavored” with “bold concentrated character.” But it smells so nice.

Normally when I make chai at home, I use a recipe from my friend Gretchen, which is very similar to Lucy Knisley’s very fun CHAI! illustrated recipe. It involves cutting open cardamom pods and soaking cinnamon sticks and generally causing the whole kitchen to smell amazing. It makes a big lovely pot and pours out very thick and very sweet, with none of the dusty, old, just plain wrong taste I get from bagged chai. Reiterated: I’m a tea snob. It’s kind of hard to do this at work, obviously – even if we had more than a microwave and toaster in our break room. So Zhena wins. But that’s okay.

The Verdict: So far, so good. It tastes a little dusty. That’s expected. Honey and milk helps. The coconut flavor is not overpowering, which is nice. I feel strangely alert…suck that, prednisone. It’s serving its re-introductory purpose, but mostly it makes me look forward to cooking up the stovetop stuff again.

Tonight I think I’ll start the Sandwich Re-Introduction. Gut, meet BLT. I may have been a tiny bit influenced by this delicious-looking B.E.L.T. thingie over at kiss my spatula, but them’s the dangers of food blog trawling.

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