Monday, March 14, 2011

Stimulating but Sleep-Friendly: Caffeine-Free Chai

Chai time: ginger root, whole cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks. 
Today I begin a new role as a Peer Review Board member for the peer-reviewed publication, IHP (Integrated Health Practitioners) magazine. Gearing up for an afternoon/evening session of reviewing citations, I decided to consider my home office "my favourite internet cafe" and that a nice, warming, zingy-sweet chai would be the perfect complement to my pursuits.  However, I'm all out of black tea, and don't feel like a caffeine jolt at this time of day anyway (I REALLY value my deep, refreshing, quality sleep and having caffeine noticeably interferes with it). So I got resourceful and made my own, caffeine-free version. It turned out really yummy, and I believe it's "chai time" I shared it with you!

RECIPE: Caffeine-Free Rooibos Chai

In a 1 litre glass teapot or mason jar put 2 thin slices of ginger root, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 cardamom pods, 1 pinch of ground cloves (alternative: 2-3 whole cloves), 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract and 2 ROOIBOS tea bags. Fill to brim with boiling water. Wrap a tea towel around your teapot to keep it nice and hot while the brew steeps for at least 20-25 minutes. The longer it steeps, the more flavours from the spices come through. Serve in your favourite mug with a splash of rice, almond or regular milk. 

Black peppercorns would be another nice addition to this chai - add 3-4 peppercorns to the teapot or jar before steeping. 

Rooibos needles are found in bright reds and yellows and give this caffeine-free chai that traditional deep red-brown glow that actually corresponds to its high antioxidant content. In general with edible plants, the brighter the better, as brightness reflects antioxidant content and freshness. This antioxidant-rich chai is a lovely warm stimulatory blend that evokes the energy and spirit i experienced while visiting India and I shall enjoy its warming, mind-refreshing benefits during this afternoon's academic pursuits. 

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