So, Evoke is interested in serving Chai Tea and Chai Tea Lattes using premium loose leaf chai. I know there are several cafes around that are using loose leaf chai even in their lattes.

We have tried several but cannot get it to steep well in the milk.

Any suggestions?

..be bold

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Comment by Jo Bowlin-Johnson on January 30, 2008 at 8:38pm
I'll give it a try and let you know how it turned out.
Comment by Joe Stormer on January 30, 2008 at 9:18am
I usually use a bit of anise in my chai, but I still use licorice root as a sweetener. I like how it can sweeten considerably at concentrations below which its unique flavor is perceptable.
Comment by Jo Bowlin-Johnson on January 30, 2008 at 9:07am
I've never thought about licorice root. But it sounds good. On the same note, I wonder how anise seeds would work. The flavor is a little more subtle - and I have some in my cupboard. :)
Comment by Joe Stormer on January 30, 2008 at 9:01am
But do you ever get the wet cat smell? I got it pretty consistantly.

Have you thought about sprinkling just a tiny bit of licorice root in the portafilter to sweeten? That stuff is pretty amazing, but be careful you don't overdo it; it'll be all you taste for the next day.
Comment by Jo Bowlin-Johnson on January 30, 2008 at 8:55am
When I brew tea through the portafilter, I run it like I'm making single shots, but in a double portafilter. That way you are giving the tea a chance to sit wet and brew. The whole process takes a couple of minutes. You can't exactly brew it like espresso. The longer you let the tea and spices sit wet, the more flavor you'll get from them. But don't let it sit too long. I usually brew enough to fill the cup 2/3 to 3/4 cup full. I'm not a big fan of a lot of milk in my tea. It tends to feel "heavy", for lack of a better descriptor. My customers like it this way. I've even converted some Starbucks fans. I did start making theirs extra sweet, but I'm weaning them off of that.
Comment by Joe Stormer on January 29, 2008 at 5:56pm
Alright, so I've been playing with tea on the espresso machine. After all, I would assert that a quality chai is built on the foundation of good tea.

I first brewed over 25 seconds a ten ounce cup with about a tablespoon of looseleaf blended black tea, tasted it. It was the appropriate strength, but almost annoyingly sweet, like subtle licorice root. I immediately brewed another from the same looseleaf and it is about the same, but maybe a little less fruity.

So I emptied the portafilter and tossed in two tablespoons. I pulled about four ounces of tea into a cup and poured steamed milk over it. Too weak, it just tasted like weird milk, watered down milk. So I pulled another four ounces from the same two tablespoons of looseleaf. It smelled like a wet cat, just after a bath. I poured a cute, very subtle rosetta, sipped it and it had the appropriate strength. It was pretty sweet, but I don't know if it tasted good. I've never taken my tea with milk and I have a fairly intense hatred for that combination of flavors.

Has anybody played with this?
Comment by Jason Duncan on January 29, 2008 at 12:12pm
There was actually a company I saw at Coffee Fest this past November in Seattle that had a tea that was prepared using the espresso machine.

It is called Red Espresso (www.redespresso.com). It is made with Rooibos tea.

It actually was a pretty interesting drink.
Comment by Joe Stormer on January 29, 2008 at 12:09pm
By the way, I'm curious about tea pulled from a portafilter. Have you cupped it side-by-side with steeped tea? What did you find?

Maybe I'll play with this tonight before I close a group for the night.
Comment by Joe Stormer on January 29, 2008 at 12:06pm
India is not the only country that brews chai, but is pretty much the only one we give credit to and the one we use as the standard for how chai should be. How is this any different from the Italiaphilia rampent in the coffee industry?

I'm no more set on brewing my chai the Indian way than pulling my shots the Italian way.
Comment by James Spano on January 29, 2008 at 12:06pm
When I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, there was a cool little shop called the Blue Pumpkin that served a "Masala Chai". They steeped a bag of darjeeling in steamed milk and added cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and cardoman. It was really good. Reminded my friend of the milk left in the bowl after you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

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