Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Masala Chai: dust to dust

I would like to welcome the first visitors to Singing Bird from Mexico and Norway

Dust to Dust

Fortune Cookie


All progress occurs because people dare to be different

When I started on my trip of India and East Asia I was drinking mainly a beverage made from black tea dust. Brooke Bond tea dust. It's the way Indians go with their Chai tea. It's strong and it's cheap.
This site is Singing Bird. It's both a tea and a travel site.

I love both.

 A tea plantation in Munnar, Kerala, South India


This blog is about the joys of travel in pursuit of different teas.

I have a love of tea that blossomed like a flowering tea only six years ago. Not drinking alcohol or even coffee (I occasionally indulge when I am away from the UK) means that tea has become a treasure to me.

I began to think about tea, its provenance and the subtle and not so subtle flavours its bears.
There is a genealogy of tea. Begun by the Chinese and taken up by the British, the Japanese, the Indochinese nations and many others with a compatible climate. Kenya for example.

If you like this blog visit its twin GuerillaZ the travel blog at the end of this link:



This is Kochi in Kerala

They make as good a Chai tea here as any I have tasted.

If you can take tea sweet and spicy--

take a look at the recipe below.

On Making Proper Chai

I was telling someone proudly how I used black pepper during the making of my Chai tea when he told me that on no account should pepper be used; only cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. The way to make satisfying Chai is as follows. I found this to be as tasty as anything I've had here.

Take 5 cardamom pods and slash lengthwise releasing the some of the black seeds inside. Take a knob of ginger the same size as the end joint of your thumb or even more. Peel, chop and bruise. Crumble cinnamon bark to make a small mound.

Put all ingredients prepared so far in a medium-sized saucepan.

A chai tea stand in Calcutta.

Add not more than a centimetre of water. Boil for 2-4 mins. Add 1 pint of creamy milk. Add 2.5 teaspoons of black tea dust, builders tea bag or loose leaf black tea if you have it. Add/dip second bag to adjust the strength.

Remove from the heat at boiling point. Pour into a teapot. Take to the table and add a spoon and a half of sugar to each cup. Makes 5 small cups. Adding a sprinkling of chopped dried chilli makes for extra zing. Cloves, cumin, star anise and vanilla are all used in different regional versions.

Writing is an activity I spend much of my time doing. Drinking tea I what I do when alone at the keyboard. In India it was a pot of Chai. In China Yunnanese green tea. In Laos a cheap Oolong I brought with me from England.

 In fact before I left the UK I packed 5 teas to travel with me. Chun Mee from China, Camomile in teabags, Chinese Oolong, Indian green tea and Yunnanese white tea.

All for different reasons.

It's incredible. All the purposes tea can serve.

Happy Tea Drinking!

Also coming soon: Tea Drinking in England.

If you like this blog visit its twin GuerillaZ the travel blog at the end of this link:


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