I was never a big morning coffee person, I always found it a bit too harsh on an empty stomach, but I know people who are seriously conditioned to the black fuel, the moment after waking. Although I love to have a cup of coffee later in the afternoon, especially for its taste, my mornings are warmed by a cup of tea or in the last year as often as I can: Chai.
The spices are very awakening and refreshing and have the same kickstarter effect on our digestive system as coffee, without too much acidity, and it makes the whole apartment smell just cosy.
Although there is not a significant difference in the number of diagnosed iron-deficient omnivores, vegetarians and vegans, vegans often get the question: Can you get enough iron? You can read more about this here, but it is good to know that coffee and green tea (which are rich in tannin) can hinder iron absorption, so not a good idea to drink them while you’re eating your spinach pie for lunch.
Chai means tea in many languages, and many countries, coming from the Mandarin Chinese word chá (茶). Therefore it has endless varieties, some places it has black tea base with spices, some leave the tea leaves out, some add milk, some add apples… So feel free to experiment, taste and adjust, and use what you have around it the kitchen.
My standard go to chai recipe is often called golden chai, because of the beautiful yellow color the turmeric gives the milky mix. Turmeric has a number of registered health benefits, and by adding some black peppers to the mix, you help its absorption. I most often use rice milk, as I find it has a natural sweetness that fits this beverage. If I’m at my workplace I like to make a smaller batch of this mix and use the espresso machine’s steamer to steam some vanilla soy milk, but fluffy or not fluffy, this chai is always delicious!
Golden chai (makes 4-5 cups) 1l water 10 cloves 6 cardamom seeds 1 small stick cinnamon (or a 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon) 1/2 thumb sliced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ginger powder) 7 whole black pepper corns (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper) 2 star anis 1 tsp turmeric 2-3 dl plant based milk vanilla extract (optional)