Say Cheers to Chai

"Chai" in Indian simply means "tea". You may have heard it referred to by its full name, Masala Chai, meaning "spiced tea". This much loved Indian beverage is traditionally made with black tea leaves and a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, black pepper and star anise. The spices are brewed with water, milk and sugar, and served hot. Masala chai's unique aromatic spice blend has been used for centuries in Indian cultures to cure colds, coughs and fever, and support optimal digestive function. In this day and age it's also a great coffee substitute, with a much lower caffeine content, and added health benefits from the earthy warming Ayurvedic spices.

Ever since I stopped drinking coffee, chai lattes have been my go-to beverage of choice when I'm out - the spicier the better. This homemade reincarnation is even more delicious than the store bought variety. You can drink it hot like a latte, but as it's almost summer here in NZ I've been enjoying it icy cold. It tastes even better if you slurp it out of a cute reused bottle with a glass straw.

Spiced Chai Milk

My Spiced Chai Milk recipe takes inspiration from these traditional Indian roots, whilst focussing on three of my favourite spices - cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. All have warming and calming properties, and are also high in antioxidants. I've used dates to sweeten instead of regular white sugar, and have added vanilla for an extra layer of flavour and sweetness. Once you've tried this base recipe you can have fun playing around with some of the other classic Chai spices, adding in a dash of clove powder, star anise powder or black pepper to your milk. You can even double the spices as your taste bugs desire.

As long as you've got a good blender, this should take you no more than 5 minutes to make and another 5 minutes to clean up. Feel free to double the recipe and pour the whole thing into a large glass bottle to enjoy over the week - it should last up to four days in the fridge. I can easily consume the whole batch myself within a few days, so if it becomes a favourite of yours too it's definitely worth making double! Also feel free to add an extra medjool date or two to your blend if you prefer it slightly sweeter, and if you don't have medjool dates you can use regular dates, just double the numbers.

I would love to see your gorgeously blended Spiced Chai Milks on Instagram, so feel free to share your shots tagging @begoodorganics, @vitamix_aunz and #begoodorganics.