Ah, Chai. It means ‘Tea’, and so using the word chai (Wikipedia def) to refer to a particular type of tea feels a bit confused. It’s derived from the Chinese word ? (cha). I just noticed that’s in the Wikipedia entry, but believe it or not, I knew that from my year of Mandarin Chinese classes. Whatever. Generally it’s used in the US to refer to an East Indian style of spiced tea latte, which has gained popularity in about the last five to ten years. As you may recall, I made a post or two a while back about a favorite Indian tea shop of mine, Indonique, located on Magazine Street in New Orleans.
Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Katrina, the café is not currently open, and I haven’t been able to go in for my fix. However, the shop is still operating via the web, and I ordered some masala chai and some lung ching green tea from the site. Due to a UPS snafu (something that’s becoming more and more familiar to me lately), they don’t have any lung ching in stock right now, so they sent me some white monkey (after checking with me) instead. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.
I’m drinking the Masali Chai, and my have I missed it. It’s as wonderful as I remembered, though not quite as sweet as they made it in the café. I went easy on the sugar. If you like tea, especially if you like chai, I strongly encourage you to place an order with Indonique. The café was a great part of Uptown New Orleans, they do good clean business, and I hope to see them back in a storefront in the near future. Additionally, Indonique is now donating 10-20% of the purchase price for most teas to various charities, so not only do you get great tea, but you support various charitable groups by purchasing from them.
Finally, if you’d like to subscribe, Indonique has a blog. There’s something wrong with the theme on the blog at the moment, but he has a bunch of pictures of damage from Chalmette. I’ve been trying to get the owner to blog about the various types of tea and such, but so far to no avail.