Tea is an important ritual in many parts of the world, from the Japanese tea ceremonies to the English high tea and everything in between. In my mind, tea time is 10 am and 4 pm. Growing up in East Africa, everything stopped at those crucial hours for tea (chai). Phone operators took chai breaks, hotel staff would wheel tea carts out by the pool and everyone would vacate the pool for tea and biscuits, everything stopped for tea.
Oddly enough though, my favorite memory of tea is not of drinking it, but of playing hide 'n' seek in the tea fields. Those rows between the bushes are perfect for the game. Everyone would be hidden and then someone 's head would pop up above the bushes and they would make a break for it the field to base.
But, I also have a favorite chai time ritual. And that would be chai time at my high school (Rift Valley Academy) in Kenya. After chapel each morning we'd make our way to the back of the dining hall, mugs in hand, and line up for a steamy cup of chai (tea cooked with lots of sugar and fresh milk) which we could hold in our cold hands and sip to warm up before next class. There is something about a cup of chai that warms the soul. (One of the newest editions to the RVA campus is this 'chai tree' where students can hang their mugs for collection at chai time.)
Needless to say, after going AIP one of the things I had to recreate was chai. Gone were the days when I could boil my tea leaves in fresh milk and sugar, but where there's a will there's a way and one way or another I knew chai wouldn't be out of my diet. It's more of a treat than a daily happening now, since both black tea and maple syrup should be consumed in moderation, but it's chai nonetheless.
- 1 cup of tea (black or rooibos)
- 2 1/2 T coconut milk
- 1/8 t cloves
- 1/8 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t maple syrup
- steep a tea bag in a mug 2/3 full of boiling water (or use loose tea if you have it)
- once to your desired strength, remove tea bag and add remaining ingredients
- stir well (or blend with a milk frother for best results)
- enjoy with your favorite 'chai time' treats
***This recipe is shared on the Phoenix Helix AIP Recipe Roundup