Growing up in New York City my only experience with tea was orange pekoe and green teas. The former came to me via my mother and Lipton‘s, the latter through many meals out in Chinese restaurants. I did not like orange pekoe tea and since that was the only tea we had at home, I never really acquired a tea drinking habit. As an adult in my own apartment I experimented with Chinese teas, but still preferred coffee. In fact the only time I would drink tea was when I was sick.
Some where along the way I became aware of Celestial Seasonings and their herbal teas. I was still only drinking hot herbal tea when I was sick, but now I didn’t feel like I was taking medicine. For the warm weater I was now making herbal ice tea instead of using the instant kind.
When chai was first introduced at Starbucks I ignored it. I thought yeah, yeah, it’s just tea with milk, and to be honest my immediate reaction was yucko! Then in January I attended the Boston Wine Expo, and all that changed. While there I had the opportunity to not only tase all that glorious wine, but Starbucks was there giving out samples of their chai straight up and one of their tea lattes. I had a sample of the Vanilla Rooibos Tazo® Tea Latte which was delicious. Prompted by a discount card, I proceeded to substitute tea lattes for my usual afternoon coffee break. I was hooked! Who knew tea with milk could be so good.
I now began to wonder if I could make this myself at home. If all it took was an espresso machine then I was golden. I even had some chai in my cubboard – in fact two kinds: honey vanilla white tea chai and india spice chai. So one night I gave it a go, microwaving the tea and steaming the milk with the frother attachment on my espresso machine. The results – it was good, not as good as Starbucks, but good enough for me to continue making it and begin exploring other brands and types of chai. I know I’m so totally hooked because this afternoon when I would normally have made myself a cup of coffee, I instead made a cup of chai. The spice of the chai was just what I needed to get me through the rest of the afternoon.