Chai Away the Cold


Unforgiving wind

chilling body, mind, and soul.

Aaahhh! Hot, spicy chai.

We know the feeling we get when we are out on a blisteringly cold winter’s day with a merciless wind blowing in our faces. It is the kind of cold that reaches down to your bones and lingers even when you enter the warmth of your home or office. Time for a cup of hot chai or ginger tea. (As an added note, the word chai means tea, so saying chai tea would be saying tea tea.)

The spices in chai are known to have thermogenic properties, meaning that they encourage your body to produce heat. Common chai spices are ginger, cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon, all boiled together with black tea in a mixture of milk and water with sugar added. The recipe for chai is not fixed and the proportion of ingredients varies according to individual preference. Some may add other spices to enhance the flavor, such as clove (I like the flavor of clove in my chai), or anise. Many brands of tea now offer chai in teabag form so brewing is easier, but the taste might not be as rich or to your satisfaction as when you blend your own. You can also get bulk quantities of premixed chai ingredients which you can use to make chai the traditional way.

Thermogenic spices have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries and science has confirmed the healing properties of several. On the other side of the world in Mexico and Central and South America, hot peppers such as jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne, and chili peppers are also thermogenic, so a chunk of pepper jack cheese could also help keep your insides warm and toasty on a frosty day.