>Spicy (not sweet) chai

>The super-sweet chai (made from a syrup mix) served at most coffee houses is a real disappointment for me — so much sugar and cream that it’s more like warm ice cream than a refreshing drink. On the other hand, most spiced chais sold in tea bag form are boring.

Of course, there’s a complex, spicy chai made right here in Ballard: Morning Glory chai. If you have the time to deal with the complicated and time-consuming brewing, you’ll find it’s delicious. But I don’t always have time to boil a bag of spices for several minutes, strain that mixture, and then add the loose-leaf tea to brew.

Last week, at an Asian grocery in Naples, Florida, I came across a peppery, complex chai in easy-to-use tea bag form. Even with plain white sugar and skim milk it was fabulous. It’s Mighty Leaf‘s “Bombay Chai Black Tea,” Indian black tea leaves blended with pepper, orange, cinnamon, caradmom, and clove.

The Mighty Leaf chai was so good that my mother asked me to leave the box with her in Florida. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I’ve spotted Mighty Leaf boxes at some of the grocery stores in Seattle (QFC? The Ballard Market?).

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