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Ode to Chai Tea & Yogi Tea 
(they are the same thing!)
What is Chai? History of Chai What is Yogi tea? History of Yogi Tea Recipes  Some info about the spices  Links & Books
Bay Rum Cologne
note: many words on this page link to a site about that word or a different part of this page, often the same word may link to a different site each time it appears.  


Tea breaks down into three basic types: black, green and oolong. 
In the west most of the tea consumed is
 Black tea, which has been fully oxidized or fermented and yields a hearty-flavored, amber brew.

Green tea skips the oxidizing step and is not fermented. It has a more delicate taste and is light green/golden in color. Green tea, a staple in Asia, is gaining popularity in the U.S. due in part to recent scientific studies linking green tea drinking with reduced cancer risk.

Oolong tea, popular in China, is partly oxidized (semifermented tea) and is a cross between black and green tea in color and taste.

White tea is actually the young leaves of the tea plant. It is the same as Green tea, the leaves are simply harvested earlier.

While flavored teas evolve from these three basic teas, herbal teas contain no true tea leaves. Herbal and "medicinal" teas are created from the flowers, berries, peels, seeds, leaves and roots of many different plants.  Chai and Yogi tea (they are basically the same thing) have a black or green tea base, but then other spices are added to the mix.



What is CHAI?

Chai (pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with 'pie') is a centuries-old Asian beverage.  It is also the word for tea in many parts of the world, Russia for example, and has played an important role in many cultures.

You can drink Chai with or without milk.  The  Chai from India is a spiced milk tea ( Masala Tea or spiced tea) that is generally made up of:

The spices used vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Many of these spices have medicinal qualities which results in a warming, soothing effect.  Chai also acts as a natural digestive aid and can gives one a wonderful sense of well being. It is usually cafinated, depending on the black or green tea used in the recipe.

Drinking chai is part of life in India. In North America chai latte's are sold at places like Starbucks and Pete's Coffee, among other coffee and tea shops.  These teas are often not made from fresh spices or tea bags, but from a thick brown paste.  Starbucks also adds sugar or aspartame to their chai.  I like the Starbucks chai with non-fat milk.  The Pete's is no longer freshly made (believe it or not it used to be!), but made from the paste, and often very very bitter.  I do not recommend theirs unless you get someone who actually knows how to make the tea properly.

Great chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but making your own chai provides immense satisfaction. Recipes and tastes for chai vary widely and a multitude of chai recipes are used around the world.

Indian grocers carry various chai masala mixes which you can use to make your own chai. Today's chai is found in a variety of forms, most commonly as a liquid concentrate. Commercially produced concentrates can be found at many health food grocers and coffee shops.  However, ingredients for making your own chai are available almost everywhere.  Included in this site are a few recipes and where you can purchase the ingredients.  You will find that you get better results from homemade Chai tea, using an old fashioned tea strainer, and it ends up being far cheaper in the long run.

The reason one adds milk to Chai and Yogi tea is because of the tannin.  The milk tends to control or mask the bitter taste.  Of course, you do not need to add milk, depending on your tastes, or perhaps the amount of Black tea you use.  At the Renaissance Fair in Northern California they used to make Chai without milk.  Adding milk to tea may have been a British invention but then again the Indians may have been doing it for centuries.

History of Chai

"Black tea with milk and sugar is the national beverage of India. Across the length and breadth of the nation, this simply is one taste that unites the whole country. The rich, the poor, the old and the young - they all like their black tea with milk and sugar. And they call this tea 'Chai.' "

In India Chai stalls are a favorite meeting place to savor a hot, fresh cup (or saucer) of chai and discuss the day's happenings. They are found all over India; from train stations in Bombay, to tiny villages around the country. Chaiwallahs are the chai vendors who serve up hot chai and hot gossip. 

The preparation is very simple. Take equal quantity of water and milk. Add sugar and bring it to a boil . Add a spoonful of tea for every cup and boil again for another two minutes. Serve with Indian snacks.

Not everyone enjoys Chai of course.  My friend, who went to school in India, hates Chai.  She does say that American Chai is different.

Either way, the spices involved in making Chai as well as Yogi tea (see below) have had a major impact on world history.  Europeans were introduced to Asian and Persian spices during the Crusades.  The goal to find a quicker route to Asia resulted in Cristofo Colombo 'discovering' an island in the Caribbean, which led to others 'discovering' the American continents. 

Of course the desire for Asian spices, as well as the introduction of tea to Europe in the 1500's, caused all sorts of things to happen that I needn't mention here.

History of Tea - the British perspective
History of Tea - excellent general history and reference
go here for another history on tea in general
History of Tea - another history, lots of info

What is Yogi Tea?

All Yogi Teas contain the five basic spices of Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, Black Pepper and Cloves which are know to increase circulation, decrease joint stiffness, enhance digestion and decrease gas and nausea.   If you ask me Chai and Yogi tea are the same thing.  Read the following history.
History of Yogi Tea

"In 1969, Yogi Bhajan came to the United States and began teaching Kundalini Yoga . His lectures and courses covered not only yoga and meditation, but also the ancient science of Ayurveda that uses nutrition, herbs, and other arts to keep the body, mind and spirit healthy.

After each class, Yogi Bhajan would serve an aromatic spice tea to his students, which they affectionately named "Yogi Tea." In time, this uniquely-flavored tea was served in the Golden Temple Vegetarian Restaurants that sprouted in the US and Europe during the early 70's.

Yogi Tea became a hit with the customers because of it's delicious taste and tonic-like affects. In response to such a positive demand, the Golden Temple Restaurants began to package and sell the tea to local natural food stores. This grass roots endeavor blossomed into the Yogi Tea Company.

Today Yogi Tea enjoys a strong following in both the United States and Europe. In addition to our 5 Yogi Tea spice blends, we also have also developed a healing line of herbal teas, Ancient Herbal Formulas, featuring highly specialized Ayurvedic recipes designed to maintain and support the vitality and health of the body."

or So says Golden Temple
Yogi tea is often served in the Unites States at Yoga classes and sessions.  I remember Yogi tea being served at Creating Our Future workshops.  That Yogi tea was the best because it had freshly sliced Ginger mixed with all the other common ingredients and cows milk or soy milk.  Of course the person who helped run our workshops was a Sikh, and a follower of Yogi Bhajan.
Recipes and ways to make or use Chai Tea & Yogi Tea

Water Temperatures For Preparing Tea
Brewing Tips

     The difference, I believe, between Chai and Yogi Tea, is the amount of sweetener, sugar, or honey one adds to the tea.  In both cases, as in English tea, you may add cow's milk or Soy milk, to dilute the strong taste of the tea. 

     As you may have read above, Chai and Yogi tea are basically the same thing, Indian tea.  Indian tea can vary a great deal.  Some of the recipes included here may not be called Chai or Yogi tea, in particular, but most of the ingredients come from Asia.  Of course, one can experiment when making one's own tea, either black, green, or herbal.  You must however, be sure of your ingredients especially considering what medicinal qualities they may posses, and what can be mixed together effectively.

My Chai recipe:

     I buy all my herbs and spices from the local health food store.  Larger health food stores have a greater variety than small stores.  I buy things in bulk.  However, I only buy a few ounces at a time of each thing.  I then have to grind up a lot of what I buy in the Cuisinart Machine when I get home.  After that I mix everything together in a large glass container with a lid.  I store my tea in this container. 

When I want some tea I scoop out a few spoonfuls into a large tea pot and pour boiling water over the loose tea.  After a while I pour some tea, using a tea strainer, into my cup.  I then mix in milk (I drink cows milk, but any milk or soy will do, depending on your taste), then I mix in honey.  I find honey tastes MUCH better than sugar.  Avoid sugar at all costs when drinking tea (iced, black, whatever).
     The ingredients are as follows.  Quantity depends on your tastes and the cost of the ingredient.  Black or Green tea (or a mixture of both) are the staple of the tea, so that is what you need to include the most of.  As far as what kind of black tea, it's your choice.  I use a mixture of different teas, depending on what I feel like buying at the time I am shopping.  I buy all my teas in bulk at the local health food store.  The most common, and largest health food store is Whole Foods.  There are others plus you can order spices online as well.
  • Black and/or green tea- this makes up the bulk of the mixture.  I like to mix black tea and green tea together, plus you can add Oolong if you desire.  I also buy some de-cafinated black tea to add to the mix. 
Measurement: The rest of the measurements are based on adding 1 cup of black/green tea to your mix.  This makes slightly more than a pint of bulk mixture.
  • Cinnamon - I buy a few sticks of Cinnamon and grind them up in the Cuisinart.  You don't want powdered Cinnamon, rather you want small bits.  The quality of the "sticks" (actually bark) varies. add about 1/2 to 1/3 a cup.
  • Cloves - you add slightly less cloves than you would Cinnamon.  You may slightly grind up the cloves in the Cuisinart but only a little.  The cloves will dissipate their essence into hot water very well. add about 1/2 a cup.
  • Cardomom - a very expensive spice that comes as seeds and pods.  You add the pods to a Chai recipe but I also add the seeds.  I slightly grind up the pods and the seeds  in the Cuisinart.  add about 1/3 cup of pods, and/or 1/4 cup of seeds.
  • Ginger - depending on how 'gingery' you want your tea, you may add a whole root, which varies in size, or less.  I take a fresh root, grind it up in the Cuisinart then bake it till it is dry.  I then add the dry ginger to my mixture.  It is very hard to find dry 'chunky' ginger at a grocery story.  You do not want the powder!  Adding fresh ginger slices to your brewing tea is always best but unless you are brewing a pot full is not worth the time it takes to cut the ginger and steep the slices. For this mixture add 1 root to 1/2 root depending on size. 
  • Black, white or red pepper corns - try to buy this in bulk at a health food store.  The pepper corns in bottles from the grocery store tend to be old.  You can add whatever type of color pepper corns you like.  Grind up the corns in the Cuisinart slightly.  Add about 1/2 cup to the mix.
  • Licorice - Not something you ordinarily add to Chai.  It is an extra that you can use if you want Licorice flavored Chai or simply another flavor to your tea.  Licorice is a root and comes in bulk as sticks or shredded.  Buy the shredded kind.  Add any amount you like, I add about 1/2 cup.
  • Chamomile - another herb not normally added to Chai.  I also add Chamomile to my Chai, just like licorice.  It is an herb and has a nice mellow taste.  The flavor does not stand out in my Chai mix.  You can add any amount you desire, I actually add a lot because the spice is cheap! about 1/3 of a cup.
 You can add any other kind of spices or herbs you like, within reason of course.  If the spice or herb is normally used as a tea, then it will probably work in Chai. 
  • Vanilla is another spice you can add to your mix.  Vanilla Chai is sold in tea bags by several companies. I have yet to find dry Vanilla that you can add to a mix.  Trader Joes used to sell the slightly dried Vanilla flower in a bottle but you can't grind it up and add it to a dry mixture. 
  • Ginseng is another herb you can add to your mix depending on your taste.  You can find it in various forms, from powdered to chunks, to the whole root at the health food store.
  • Nutmeg is another eastern spice that would fit well in a Chai mix.  You need to chip up the rather large seeds into chunks because you do NOT want to add the powder.  Be careful about using it (see below).
Other Chai recipe's:
Masala Chai
 1-1/2 cups water 
 1 inch stick of cinnamon 
 8 cardomom pods 
 8 whole cloves 
 2/3 cup milk 
 6 tsp. sugar (or to taste) 
 3 teaspoons any un-perfumed loose black tea 

 Put 1-1/2 cups water in saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardomom, and cloves and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again. Throw in the tea leaves, cover, and turn off the heat. After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately. 

Oregon chai recipe
(4) 1 1/2 in. slices fresh ginger (use vegetable peeler) 
(1) 2 in. cinnamon stick 
(4) whole cloves 
(1) heaping demitasse spoon powdered cardamom 
(1) 6 in. vanilla bean (cut up into 1 in. pieces) 
(1) dash nutmeg 
(1) heaping Tbsp. sugar 
(1/4) cup honey 
(3) Bigelow Darjeeling Blend tea bags 
(2) cups H2O
(2) cups milk
Information about the Spices used in Indian Tea

Anise - many uses including dropping seeds into a glass of hot milk for insomnia. It is also used as a replacement flavoring in many foods and candies labeled as licorice. Star Anise is a tropical, Asiatic plant related to the magnolia, and it supplies many of the seeds in commerce. Pimpinella is the true aniseed. It is used in treating indigestion, gas and flatulence, spasms of the gastrointestinal tracts and abdominal pain.

Black Pepper - is one of the most powerful digestive stimulants. With honey, it is a powerful expectorant and mucus-cleanser, drying up secretions. For history and more info go here.
Black Tea - Black tea, green tea, as well as Oolong are all the same tea leaf, just in a different form (see above).  Tea, or Thea sinensis (Tea Family) is an evergreen shrub native to Asia.  Tea from the Thea sinensis goes back at least five thousand years, and was also considered a medicine by the Chinese.  The Chinese introduced tea to the west and it is now drank, in various forms, all over the world.
Camomile (Chamomile) - Many uses from bath and skin products to teas. Drunk as a tea, helps one to fall asleep. There are many medicinal uses for this plant. It is used for nervousness, headaches, anxiety, cramps and spasms. It is also beneficial for febrile diseases such as cold and flu. It is frequently used for digestive complaints and taken regularly will gently regulate the bowels and aid in relaxation for sleeping. There are several species, one is German Chamomile and another is English Chamomile. When getting this at a spice store, be sure you know what kind you are buying.
Cardamom - an aromatic spice consisting of the seeds of a perennial herb, it has many cooking as well as medicinal uses. It is one of the best and safest digestive stimulants. It treats gastrological, enuresis (involuntary urination), spermatorrhea, phlegm, indigestion and gas. This herb is an excellent warming, antimucus stimulant to add to lung tonics. Basically it helps in stomachaches. Similarly to Chai, a few seeds can be added to coffee for flavor.
Cassia - Chinese cinnamon, used as a tonic, a stomachic, a carminative, incense, and in potpourris. 
Cinnamon - has a variety of uses. The Egyptians used it in the embalming process. The oil is medicinal and has many uses.  Cinnamon raises vitality, warms and stimulates all the vital functions of the body, counteracts congestion, is antirheumatic, stops diarrhea, improves digestion, relieves abdominal spasms, and aids the peripheral circulation of the blood. 
The spice was so highly prized that fortunes were made and lost and empires built around its import and export. It once was more valuable than gold in medieval Europe. Later it was one of the most profitable spices in the Dutch East Indian Company trade.  Go here for more HISTORY

Clove - Cloves come from an evergreen native to Indonesia, the plant bears small brown flower buds. Like cinnamon, cloves are used for a variety of things ranging from teas, to cooking and baking, to smoking, and as an aromatic among other things.  Cloves are an effective stimulant and aromatic for the lungs and stomach. They dispel chill and disinfect the lymphatics. The volatile oil is a powerful analgesic.
     Centuries ago cloves were used in Chinese courts as breath mints. Cloves were imported to Europe, similarly to Cinnamon, after the Crusades. In the early 17th century, the Dutch eradicated all clove trees except those on Amboina and Ternate to create scarcity and thus to sustain high prices.

Green Tea - see black tea

Ginger - a highly medicinal root that is a popular condiment. Its properties are stimulating, warming, aromatic, and digestive and ginger is used as a universal tonic.  It is one of the best herbs to use for nausea and vomiting and is said to warm the center (stomach), aid digestion and assimilation, relieve cold spasms and cramps, and promote menses. It is one of the most widely beneficial warming stimulants.

Ginseng - a Super Root that has been used as a cure-all for thousands of years.  It treats all deficiency diseases, strengthens the lungs, nourishes body fluids, counteracts thirst, and calms the spirit. It may be used for shock, collapse, lung deficiency, chronic febrile diseases, and heart weakness. It is also helpful for convalescence, debility and weakness in old age.

Licorice (Liquorice) - Licorice root is used these days mostly in teas, especially medicinal teas for coughs and colds. There are many medicinal benefits to this herb.  It strengthens digestion, treats stomach and duodenal ulcers and improves energy. It is good for dryness of the lungs and colds; it clears heat, detoxifies poisons, relieves abdominal pains and spasms, and counteracts sore throat. 
     Licorice was stored in great quantity in King Tut's tomb. It has been used as a curative in China for thousands of years.

Nutmeg - Has many medicinal properties.   It is used to treat diarrhea, indigestion, loss of appetite, colic, flatulence and insomnia.  It is used as a stimulant, an aromatic, to stop vomiting, as a narcotic, and a carminative.  Take three Nutmeg seeds, grind them up, mix with ice cream, and you get some sort of high.  I have never done this but I have had friends in high school 'do nutmeg' and something happens.

Vanilla - This spice or flavoring comes from the seedpod, containing the vanilla bean, of an orchid. Like many other orchids this flower has specialized to such an extent that only one kind of bee can fertilize it (and of course it can be hand fertilized by humans). Vanilla is used in foods, perfumes, and lotions for the skin, aromatics and does have medicinal qualities as well. The extract, bough at the local grocery has been so processed that it lacks any of its original medicinal qualities.
The plant grows in tropical countries and originated in Central America. The Aztecs drank vanilla with chocolate (another new-world plant). In the 19th century orchids, in general, were collected by the ton. Once 4 thousand trees were cut down for the orchids growing on them. Today, orchids are still very difficult to grow, very hard to get out of their native habitat safely and are becoming endangered as rainforests are chopped down.



Chai Stall a place for authentic spiced Indian tea

A World of Tea -
Tea history ( Tea History), news in the world of tea, the Stash Tea catalog, tea recipes, and even a bed & breakfast guide e A from The Stash Tea website.

Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages contains all sorts of information about spices, medicinal and historical.  Excellent reference site. Just click OK on the warning - it is for users of old web browsers.

Tea Board of India

Tea Talk Online Information About Tea

Tea - A British web page about tea, even has links to educational stuff!

The Enthusiasts Online Chai resource- since 1995


Common Herbs for Natural Health
by Juliette de Bairacly Levy
Schocken Books 1966, 1974

Herbs & Things Jeanne Rose's Herbal
A compendium of practical and exotic herbal lore
By Jeanne Rose
A GD/Perigee Book 1972
her web page: www.jeannerose.net

Leaves In Myth, Magic, & Medicine
By Alice Thoms Vitale
Stewart, Tabori & Chang 1997

100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names
by Diana Wells
Alogonquin Books of Chapel Hill 1997


Bay Rum Cologne

If you love the smell and taste of Chai, then you could always try Bay Rum Cologne.  A cologne that smells like Chai because it is made up of many of the same ingredients:

2-1/2 ounces bay leaves, crushed
1-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 pint Jamaican rum
Add bay leaves and spices to the rum and shake well.  Strain and bottle.  This cologne will stay true for months if kept at room temperature.

If you don't want to make your own, Burt's Bee's sells a wonderful collection of Bay Rum Bay cologne, soaps and accouterments.

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