September 01, 2007

What's in a teaspoon?

I asked this question after using 1 teaspoon of home-made spice mix when the recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon. I had used the teaspoon for the assam loose leaf and accidentally used the same measure for the spices. The first sign that I had done something wrong was the cloudy nature of the water in my tea cup. The second sign was the almost mucus-like quality of the unfurled leaves and mix. The tea smelled wonderful as it steeped (warmed ginger and cinnamon and the earthiness and spice of the cardamoms and peppercorns), but the resulting tea was thick, similar to peanut butter. It lacked the smoothness of correctly portioned chai.

I decided to prepare my own chai after finishing a 2 ounces of Black Blend from Steap Premium Tea in Philadelphia. I like drinking black tea in the morning and did not want to open my second 2-ounce pack of Steap tea, Black with Apple Caramel. I could have purchased bagged tea, but I have made a commitment to drinking loose leaf tea when I can. I searched the internet for chai recipes (for one) and found my favorite recipe from Chai!.

left, spices
Incorrect measure of spice mix

1 teaspoon of tea (I used Assam loose leaf I purchased from the grocery store)
1/4 teaspoon of spices (see below)

>> Spice mix
1 1.5 inch cinnamon stick
4 cardamoms with shells
3 peppercorns (I used Sarawak Black from Penzeys Spices)
3 cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (I used powder made by Frontier Culinary Spices)

>> Grind the ingredients

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