It almost seems silly to dedicate an entire blog post to “Straining Your Chai,” but you might be surprised by how many different ways there are to do this! And because this topic arose with the last few friends I prepared chai for, it seems time for a few helpful tips. If you read our last piece on How to Make Chai, you might remember that we recommend crushing (with a mortar and pestle), then boiling your spices directly in a pot on the stove, and then straining into a cup when ready to drink.
Yes, you can simply use an infuser to steep your loose chai in a cup/pot of hot water, but you will get SO much more out of your blend if you boil it first. One of my favorite things about preparing chai is watching the herbs and spices dance inside the pot as it bubbles and boils, knowing their healing qualities and full flavours are being thoroughly assimilated by the liquid.
There are several different straining devices available, and we have a few accessories for sale in our store. I will go over each one, and share our favorite.
Our Elegant Tea Strainer comes with a drip bowl, and is an old fashioned way to strain your tea. Some apparently use this to steep their tea in a cup of hot water with the blend sitting in the strainer, but I suggest following our boiling method to get the most out of your blend, and then use the strainer to simply sift the spices. After preparing your chai in a pot, you can then strain into a teapot (so that all the tea in the teapot has been strained and is ready to drink), or, if you wish to let your spices/herbs steep a little longer, you can pour it un-strained into your teapot, and strain into a cup each time you are ready for more chai. (I also appreciate that this strainer comes with a drip bowl to keep everything clean and convenient.)
Our Simple Tea Strainer is similar to the Elegant Tea Strainer, (but not quite as attractive). This tea strainer is fairly straight forward; you can follow the same method as above for straining your chai with this strainer. Although this strainer doesn’t come with a drip bowl, it has a long handle and lip which allows it to rest comfortably on your pot after straining.
Our Tea Infuser Ball requires you to fill the ball with your chai, and then steep it in a cup/pot of boiling water. I don’t personally favor this method because (I am a firm believer in stove top boiling chai; this is after all the authentic way to prepare it, and) it only allows you to prepare small amounts of chai at a time. I honestly think this infuser is better suited for simple, loose leaf teas. However, if you do choose this method, I suggest finely crushing the chai blend first to encourage a more robust infusion.
There are many variations of the above three strainers, but these are the basics of what is out there. The Elegant Tea Strainer is my favorite strainer for chai. It is a beautiful accessory, the drip bowl helps to avoid a mess, and the strainer is easy to use and clean. Preparing chai is a little different to the typical loose leaf tea, so I hope this post was helpful! Feel free to leave us a comment with your feedback, and let us know if you have any questions.