Straight up. The real key to success for a perfect cup of chai is your intention. No matter how fancy my milk is or how diligently I’ve timed and measured the correct ratio of chai to water to milk to honey, if my heart isn’t it, if my mind isn’t focused on enjoying the process, delighting in the aroma, who I’m brewing it for, including if it’s being brewed for me to enjoy myself, then the chai never tastes as good.
The perfect chai comes from the intent you carry when brewing. And the best way to enjoy chai is with someone you care about. I know firsthand the best cup of chai I always have is with my Aaji (grandmother).
(Aaji and I brewing a cuppa in her kitchen in South Africa)
Getting Aaji to take the weight off her feet, sitting her down in her favourite kitchen chai, putting the water on the stove, smelling the freshness of a genuine chai ingredients, seeing the strong, rich colour as the milk is added and the honey is stirred through. All the while, chatting - about life, about dreams, about the history we share (including the history of traditional authentic Indian chai). Getting to pour Aaji a cup and know we will continue chatting through the afternoon over multiple cups makes the chai perfect for me.
Image: our chai brewing
In fact, I find I make the best chai whenever I’m making it to share. This is because, I am delighted to have company to share a cuppa with and my intent is one of joy and delight. An intent I have recently learnt to apply when making a cuppa just for myself. Life is so busy these days with ‘busy’ being branded at a trophy and I feel that pressure to always be ‘busy’ but now taking the time out to make myself some chai twice a day has resulted in me achieving more focused and productive days.
So if you’re in the right frame of mind, focusing on your intent while making the chai, you’re going to make the perfect cuppa for you!