Chai Basics & A Recipe for Apple Pie Chai | Bonnie Eng | Skillshare

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Chai Basics & A Recipe for Apple Pie Chai

teacher avatar Bonnie Eng, Author, Thirsty for Tea Blog

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Chai vs. Masala Chai


    • 3.

      The Essentials


    • 4.

      Personalizing Your Chai


    • 5.

      Milk & Sweeteners


    • 6.

      Apple Pie Chai Recipe


    • 7.

      Gifting Your Chai


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

In this class, you'll learn how to make a basic Masala Chai, also known as "spicy tea." We'll go over the essential ingredients that you'll need, and then branch out from there to describe other add-ons for creating your own signature blend. I'll also share my recipe for Apple Pie Chai with you, and take you through the step-by-step process of blending and brewing it. Create a chai blend for yourself or for your friends and family as a gift--there's nothing like a cozy pot of chai brewing on the stove!

Meet Your Teacher

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Bonnie Eng

Author, Thirsty for Tea Blog


Bonnie Eng is author of the tea blog, Thirsty for Tea, a blog dedicated to modernizing the classic tradition of tea. The site is a collection of tea recipes, reviews and crafts all dedicated to tea and tea-inspired. For more tips on tea, visit Bonnie at her site or on Instagram.

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1. Introduction: Hi. Welcome to the class. My name is Bonnie Eng, and I'm the author of the blog called Thirsty For Tea. Thirsty For Tea is a collection of recipes, reviews, and crafts all dedicated to tea and tea-inspired, and today I'm going to be showing you how to blend your own chai at home. This is a great little project if you happen to love tea yourself or if you happen to know somebody who loves tea. The scent of chai brewing during cold months of the year, winter, fall, is just one of the best things you can experience. I think you're going to really love this lesson. I'm going to start off by going over the difference between a chai and a masala chai. Once we clarify the difference between those terms, we're going to go over the five ingredients that you'll typically find in standard chai blend. I'm also going to go over with you some ingredients that you can add to personalize a chai to your own liking, and I'll also share with you my own recipe for apple pie chai, which is a really warm and homey blend of apple pie flavors and chai flavors, and I think you're really going to love that. We're going to finish the class by going over some ideas for gifting your chai to your friends and family. We want to make the chai portable and shippable and presentable so that you can share it with those that you love. By the end of this class, you should be able to blend your own chai at home, and I'm looking forward to seeing the recipes that you come up with and any of your secret ingredients that you're willing to share about. Thanks for following along, and welcome to the class. 2. Chai vs. Masala Chai: Before we get blending today, we're going to want to go over the terms chai and masala chai. If you're ever in India and you want to drink a plain cup of tea, you're going to ask for a cup of chai because chai literally means tea. Here in America, we have the term chai tea, which is actually redundant because it translates to tea tea. We've also taken the term masala chai, which basically means spicy tea, and shortened that to just chai. For the purposes of today's class, we're going to refer to a spicy tea just as a chai, but you'll want to keep in mind that if you're ever in India and you want a cup of spicy tea to ask for a cup of masala chai. 3. The Essentials: There are five main ingredients that a chai is made from. I like to refer to these as the essentials. Of those five ingredients, one is a tea and four are spices. The first ingredient is tea, and this is where an Indian black tea is typically used. A 50/50 mix of Assam and Ceylon are ideal, but English breakfast can also be substituted. The second ingredient is cardamom, which comes in these small green pods, and is floral and almost citrus-like in flavor. I like to lightly crush these before adding them into my chai. The third ingredient is ginger, which is important for adding a hot element to the chai. You can use fresh ginger root or the candy type. I prefer to use the fresh if I'm enjoying the chai right away, but if you're wanting to blend the tea and drink or gift it for enjoying later, then the candied or crystallized ginger works great. The fourth ingredient is cinnamon. The most common type cassia is found in common grocery stores. But if you can find Ceylon, it's a real treat. You'll note it's Ceylon cinnamon if the stakes break and flake apart easily. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as true Cinnamon. The fifth essential ingredient is clove. Clove has a warm, sweet taste, but can also be overwhelming so be careful about how much you add to your chai. Keep in mind that all of these spices come in powdered form as well. But because they're stronger in this ground form, you'll want to use them sparingly. Start with an eighth of a teaspoon and work up from there. 4. Personalizing Your Chai: Now I'm going to go over some ingredients that you can add to your chai to personalize it to your own taste. This is a great time to use some of the ingredients from your pantry or your spice cabinet, and really what homemade chai blending is all about, you want to create something one of a kind and something that you really enjoy. There are a host of ingredients here. I've broken them down into four categories, which is spice, fruits, nuts, and extras. As for the spice, if you remember from the last segment, we went over the four main spices in a chai and that was cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and clove. I have three extra spices here. The first is star anise, and star anise looks like this. It's hard, almost flower-like shapes. I typically like to break it in half or break off segments of it and then throw that in with my tea while it's simmering. This is going to add a strong licorice taste to your tea. You'll want to use it sparingly, just as is the case with cardamom or clove just because it's so strong. I also have some peppercorns here. This is a mix of red, green, white, and black. I typically like to use anywhere 5-10 of these peppercorns, give them a light crush, and then throw them in with the simmering tea. These are going to add a nice hot taste to your chai, just like the ginger does. Next I have, fennel. Fennel is really great for adding a hint of licorice taste without being overwhelming. I typically like to start with about an 1/8 of a teaspoon and then work up from there. Next, I have some fruits and this is my favorite of the fruits to add to a chai. It's just diced apple. You could also buy apple rings and cut them up or you can buy apple chips and just break them apart. But I like these apple pieces because they brew up evenly when you throw them in with other tea ingredients, and they're just going to be really great at adding some natural sweetness to the chai. I also have here some raisins. These are golden raisins and these will add an almost honey-like taste to the brew. You could also use the darker raisins which will add a little bit hint of a molasses-like taste. These will plump up in the brew and then also make it a little thicker. If you happen to like a thick chai, then these are a great option. I now have some banana chips and you can just break these in half or throw them in whole to a blend. These are really wonderful. Say, for instance, for a summer chai, you could do a green tea chai instead of black tea and add maybe coconut shavings and some of this banana in for a tropical taste. These are really fun to play around with. I also have some nuts here, and my favorite nut to add to any tea is actually almond. Almond will add a nice buttery note to your tea, slightly rich but won't be actually heavy. You can also add walnuts like I have here, or [inaudible] also work well for a [inaudible] fall blend. These would be really great in say, like a maple Chai. I also have some hazelnuts here. Hazelnuts, for me, they're more of a core main type of ingredients so I actually like to add these along with some chocolate and create a hazelnut chocolate chai blend. You can just chop them up and throw them in with the dry mix. Now I have my extras, which is the fun category. Here are some chocolate chips. These are mini chocolate chips. You could also use dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate or white chocolate works well too. This is really great if you're trying to create a desert chai with a rich base under it. These, like the raisins, will add a thickness to the tea so it will almost be like a swap out for having regular desert. Now I have some vanilla bean, which is super fragrant and just really wonderful in many different flavors of chai. What I do is I take a one-inch segment and I also cut it vertically like this so that I expose the inside seeds which are super tiny but very flavorful. If you can't happen to find the vanilla bean, then you can also use vanilla extract and add some of that after brewing the tea, but I liked that this is in dry form and that you can throw it in with the rest of the dry chai ingredients. Finally, I have some sprinkles here. These are just really fun for adding to a birthday chai or a chai blend that you're mixing up for kids to enjoy. There's just so many different types of sprinkles you can find, but I also really love these little gold [inaudible] that you can add to any mix and it'll just make the child really festive. You could do that for holiday time or Christmas time, and that's a really nice touch. These are just some of the options for ingredients that you can add to a chai to personalize it to your own taste. The point here is to be creative and have fun with the ingredients, and just create something that you really enjoy and have fun experimenting. 5. Milk & Sweeteners: These are some ideas on how to add milk to your chai. I typically like to enjoy my chai just plain brewed with water, but if I do add milk, I like to add it in a one-to-one ratio. What that means is for every one cup of water, I'll use one cup of milk. That goes for any of these milk types. I personally prefer whole milk and that's just because after it's diluted with water, it creates a nice canvas for the flavors of the ****** to really pop out and shine. If I'm going for a lighter chai or the chai itself is lighter. Say it's a green tea blend instead of black tea, I like to use a carton, coconut milk or almond milk or maybe even soy milk. I really love this cartonned coconut milk just because it's really neutral tasting and lighter in calories. If you use this just makes sure not to confuse it with the can type of coconut milk which is much richer and much thicker. You want to definitely find the coconut milk in the carton. I also have some instant nonfat dry milk here, and I like to package it up in these little spice jars so that when the person receiving the gift of chai is opening it up, they can brew it at a moment's notice without having to go to the market to buy more milk. It's just a thoughtful little gift. These are just some ideas on how to add milk to your chai. These are some ideas on a sweetener so you can add to your chai to give it another layer of flavor. You're going to want to choose the sweetener you use depending on the flavor profile of that particular tea. I would say that most of the time honey is going to work really well. You want a neutral tasting honey that isn't too strong. I really love honey because you can use much less than you would sugar. If you were to use a teaspoon of regular sugar, you can just use half a teaspoon of honey and it will go a long way. Agave or maple syrup also work really well. Maple syrup is going to have a strong taste, so you'll want to use it with special blends, maybe fall blends. American or North American inspired blends. That's going to go really well with any of those. Vanilla sugar is a real treat. It's little more expensive, but it basically has vanilla seeds all floating throughout it. It has the most wonderful scent. Again, if you're gifting and you're sending your blend out to somebody to enjoy, this might be nice to include. I also have here just some raw turbinado sugar. Again, it's packaged into a little spice container so that it's easy to use and portable and can be enjoyed easily and brewed up with the chai when it's received as a gift. These are just some ideas on sweeteners that you can use. 6. Apple Pie Chai Recipe: Now, I'm going to share with you my recipe for Apple Pie Chai. This is the spice portion and I'll show you the tea later. What I'd like for you to first notice are these four ****** that we covered in the earlier segment on the ****** that are typically included in a chai: that's the cardamom, the ginger, the cinnamon, and the clove. I have three pods of cardamom, one tablespoon of crystallized ginger. I have two Ceylon cinnamon sticks that have been broken into one-inch pieces and flaked apart. Then, I have three whole cloves. To these four main ******, I've added two extra ******: that's 10 peppercorns, black peppercorns, and an eighth of a teaspoon of grated nutmeg. I also have some fruit here. This is a third of a cup of dehydrated apple pieces. I have a half slice of orange and a half slice of lemon, both dehydrated and cut into small pieces. Then, finally, I have a one-inch segment of vanilla bean that's been cut lengthwise to expose the seeds. At this point, we're just going to take this little mortar set. What I'll do is I'll actually take the hard ****** and give them a light crush. This is just important so that we can expose a lot of their flavor into the tea. Since they are really hard, they just need a little help. We'll just give them a little help like this and give them a light crush, just want to open the cardamom pods a little bit and just crush the pepper lightly. You don't have to have a fine powder, but you just want to light crack on each of these ******. That's done. At this point, this is lightly exposed. What we're going to do is actually put this back into the mix. I'm just going to take my hands. This is the fun part; just mix everything together. This is our dry tea mix now. This portion of the ****** and the fruit is going to get simmered first and then I'll show you how to add the tea after that. This is ready to go. This is the tea portion of my Apple Pie Chai recipe and the blend is going to be added to the fruit and ****** after those ingredients have a chance to mingle with the liquids first; it's like a Part 2. I like to make my Apple Pie Chai tea blend a mix of the Assam and Ceylon in equal proportions; that's pretty typical for a chai. I also like to add some rooibos, which is a South African red herb. It's great because it's caffeine-free and a nice option if you happen to not like using regular tea in your chai. I just use equal proportions of the Ceylon and Assam. I'm going to do a teaspoon and a half of each of these. That's a teaspoon and a half. I do use rounded teaspoons just because I like a stronger blend, but totally up to you how much you put. Again, a teaspoon and a half. Then, I'm just going to add one teaspoon of the rooibos. I like that rooibos gives an almost crust-like essence to the blend and also has a really pretty color. I'm just going to mix this up a little bit. That's it. This is the tea portion of my Apple Pie Chai recipe. Now, we're going to brew up my Apple Pie Chai recipe. We're going to start off by adding a cup and a half of water into a little pot. To that, we're going to add our dry spice mix, the mix with the cinnamon, and the apples, and all of those essential chai ******. Now that we have those into the pot, we're going to turn everything on to high heat. We're going to keep a good eye out on this. Once it reaches the boil, we'll be going to the next step. My ****** have just come to a boil. At this point, I'm going to give them a good stir. I'm going to go ahead and add my milk addition. Now, if I weren't adding any milk, I would just put the complete amount of water, which for my recipe is three cups, in with the ****** at the beginning of the boiling process, but for this, I'm going to use half water, half milk. I'm going to add my milk now. Preferably, this is room-temperature milk. Right after I add the milk, I'm going to reduce the heat to just a simmer. At this point, I'm going to give it a good stir again. Let this sit on the stove with the top on for five minutes. It's been five minutes, so I want to turn off the heat and unlid this. By now, your house should be smelling really really great. You can see there's a little bit of curdling here, but that's going to be okay because we're going to strain everything out at the end. I'm going to go ahead and add our tea now. This is going to steep for five minutes. Just mix it in. Make sure the leaves hit the liquid and they make contact. Now, we'll cover this and let it steep for five minutes. It's been five minutes and the tea has had a chance to brew up. I went ahead and strained away the solids away from the liquids. This is our Apple Pie Chai ready to drink. I've also taken the back of a spoon and pressed against some of the leftover plumped-up fruit that we had, just to get every last drop of tea out of the mixture. Now it's just time to serve up the tea. I'll put this lid on the kettle. This is my recipe for Apple Pie Chai. This is a really warm blend for the fall. If you love fruit and ****** with a hint of sweetness even before adding any sugar, this is going to be a great blend for you. I hope you can try it. 7. Gifting Your Chai: Now that you know how to blend your own chai, it's time to share it with friends and family. These are just some ideas on ways that you can share a gift of chai, and this is one of my favorites. This is really great for people who love to experiment in the kitchen or play around with different flavors. When you open this Indian spice box, you're just going to get a hit of the most amazing chai ******, and again, we have the cardamom, ginger, the cinnamon, and the clove. I've also included some other ****** here just so that the person can experiment and come up with a flavor that's original, and one that they love. I've also included a packet of really good quality Assam tea here, and this is just great for creative people, and maybe the person you gifted too well end up making a chai to give back to you. Home made chai's always looks so inviting and homie that I love to show off their pretty texture in these clear jam jars or mason jars. These are really great because they're stackable. What I like to do is I like to stack these up, and this is the spice, some tea, some vanilla sugar, and I just put them one on top of another. Actually you can get those long wine bags at the wine store and just put this tower into the bag. Or you could also tie a ribbon on this and write a cute little note, and it's ready to go, and just really handsome, as a way to present your chai. Here's another way to share your homemade chai, and this makes a great favor or a desktop gift for a co-worker. I have a mug here and I'd like to get these really brilliant, festive, colorful Indian fabrics, this is the napkin size and I like to just put that into the mug, and it sets the tone for enjoying a nice Indian chai. I also have some honey here, honey sticks, and I also have a sugar stick here in case the person doesn't like honey. I also have a single serving or individualized serving of the ****** for the tea. Finally, I have a repurposed mini jam jar that has the tea in it. You could just tie this up in a cellophane bag with a big ribbon, and it just makes for a nice little personalized gift. This is an idea on how you can package up your homemade chai, and what I have here is a wooden box and I like that it's pretty durable and relatively light in weight. This is actually a pie box that I got at a craft store, you can also get these types of boxes at a wine store where they'll be slightly different in dimension, but they'll work equally well for sending out chai. What I have here is a recipe card for my apple pie chai, and I like that the person can receive the chai and doesn't have to print anything out so that they can get brewing. I also have a mug here, some honey, and then the ******, and a good quality Indian black tea, and just an apple for a festive touch since it fits my chai theme. I have some paper filler here which you'll fill all the way to the top if you're planning on sending this out, and here's the top of the box, which just easily slides on. Now this box has a stenciling on it and for my recipe it fits, but for yours it might not, and they have other boxes that don't have any stenciling, and what you'll do is you'll just take this box and put it into a larger cardboard box that also has filler in it and just send that out. When it comes to packaging up your chai, just get creative and have fun with it and you can't go wrong. 8. Final Thoughts: Thanks for following along on this chai tutorial today, I hope I've given you some good information on how to blend and brew up your own personalized chai recipe. Don't forget to use your palette as your guide. A little bit less of this, little bit extra of that, and you're going to come up with a one of a kind blend that your friends and family will really enjoy. I'd love to see some of your recipes, maybe some of the gifts that you send out or even some of the secret ingredients that you use, so don't forget to upload those to the class gallery. In the meantime, happy blending and brewing, and I hope you get to enjoy a homemade cup of chai sometimes soon. Thanks for following.