I will never purchase tea for $80 a pound which is what Teavana asks for Maharaja® Chai. However, I will use culinary skills and known ingredients to come as close as possible to the over priced tea.
Maharaja® Chai/Samurai Chai Tea Blend
Green maté, cinnamon, oolong tea, green rooibos, ginger pieces, carob pieces, artificial flavoring, candied pineapple pieces (pineapple, sugar), candied papaya pieces (papaya, sugar), chicory root, orange peels, pepper, anise seed, coriander, cloves, cardamom
I have all the ingredients except for artificial flavoring. Here’s the thing, not knowing the exact amount of each ingredient isn’t an obstacle when the goal is to get as close as possible with a few preference tweaks here and there.
I think one of the most important things is to know what flavors you like. Having that knowledge gives confidence in the kitchen and confidence to try new ingredient lists. If you are new at combining flavors you may need a clearer guide. No worries though, keep at it, keep experimenting so that your confidence grows. It’s worth it and it’s fun.
By order of ingredients I know right off the bat which flavors are intended to stand out and which are to compliment. I’m also able to see how they balanced all those spices. Right in the middle of dominant flavors and rich spices is the sweetness of fruit and sugar. Why is this useful? Because I now understand how to balance these spices which will come in handy when experimenting with my own tea recipes.
At the store I read ingredients for spiced pasta or rice dishes that I’ll later make at home. I’m not about to buy it because most of the pasta and rice processed foods have frightening ingredients with crazy amounts of sodium. They start with salt and end with stroke level amounts of salt. No thanks. I’ll do my own thing at home.
Just like the tea above, to get as close as possible to a packaged food takes a little understanding of the ingredients, specifically which flavors should stand out, what flavors balance it out and what flavors are for hinted after taste. Tweak the recipe to preference and enjoy.
When I make the Teavana recipe above, my tweaks are: fresh ginger, fresh pineapple, fresh papaya, heavier on the black pepper, no sugar.
Gotta love it!