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photo     One of my favorite ways to start my day is with making a nice cup of chai. It is a part of my morning ritual that follows my morning meditation and yoga practice. I love the ritual of preparing chai,  enjoying it, and sharing it with my husband.  I like to make mine with the sweeter spices: cinnamon and cardamom and often with a touch of ginger which is good for digestion and warming. I leave out the pepper corns and cloves that are often in chai and in chai mixes, unless I am in the mood for a spicier chai.   My love of chai began in India over 20 years ago on my first trip to India. Drinking chai is deeply rooted in Indian culture. All over India you see chai "wallahs ” making and selling chai on the streets and people sitting and drinking chai watching Indian street culture go down and taking a pause over some sweet Indian tea. One of my first introductions to the prevalence and popularity of chai in India was when i traveled the entire coastline of India by train on a great solo adventure.   Chai wallahs would ride the trains at all times of day and night  toting large pots of chai for sale calling out " Chai" in high pitched voices. It used to be poured into single use clay cups that would disintegrate back into the Earth when done.   As I returned to India over the years, my favorite chai wallah was at the main market bazaar in Pushkar Rajasthan. The chai stall was always clean and a beautiful place to sit and watch the day unfold with women selling freshly harvested fruits and vegetables and flowers in the market in front, Brahmin priests and pilgrims beginning their day of spiritual offerings, and many international travelers and hippies in the mix. In short it was a very colorful scene in a beautiful magical town.  It was my way of starting my day while in India over a nice cup of chai. In India  chai can be made simply as just black tea, milk and sugar or as masala chai (my favorite kind) which is prepared with varying proportions of spices in addition to the milk and tea.   There is another beautiful cultural tradition in India of chai that always stands out to me of being offered chai and tea when in a shop. I used to buy a lot of textiles in India and make a lot of our  clothing for Synergy in India , and drank many a chai with my friends and business contacts there while working on my designs. It was always a welcome break from work to sit and chat over a cup of chai.   Now I love to bring the ritual of enjoying chai into my home space and day and to make a healthier version as in India it is usually prepared very sweet with a lot of sugar and milk. Have a beautiful day starting it with a nice cup of chai and see how your day unfolds, and if a little bit of magic from India comes through in the spices and into your day.   Namaste, Kate chai RECIPE: (Makes 2- 3 large mugs) I always just sprinkle all of my ingredients into my chai pot based on my intuition but these are some guidelines to go by:
  •  4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of organic English breakfast tea
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger cut into a few pieces
  • 1 cup of vanilla soy milk or almond milk
Bring the water to a boil and add the rest of the ingredients. Boil all together for about 5- 7 minutes or longer to get more flavor from the spices. Strain. Add a little honey to taste Enjoy! [caption id="attachment_323" align="alignnone" width="600"] Kate is the co-owner + creative director of Synergy. Here she is on an adventure with her husband and co-owner, Henry.[/caption]