If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good cup of coffee. This post is for my fellow coffee (and tea) connoisseurs. I’m not a huge tea person, but I do like chai. For Christmas, I got a new french press and have been determined to find the best method! I decided to ask the experts at popular food truck, Dose Coffee, in Salt Lake City. Owner and expert, Jackie, has been making coffees and teas for decades and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to everyone’s favorite drinks. Click through for her tips on getting the best chai tea brew!
It starts with a good blend… Jackie uses a loose leaf chai tea, which is also locally sourced. I tasted each ingredient individually within the blend, to get a sense for the flavor profile as a whole.
I’m not a big fan of overly sweet chai (sorry Starbucks), so this blend was perfect. You could really identify the spices (cloves, peppercorns, etc). The moral of the story? Find a loose leaf tea that you enjoy, and don’t be scared to experiment. After you’ve found a blend you love, spoon the suggested amount into your french press.
Next, add the hot water. I quickly learned that temperature is much more important than I imagined. Jackie is the guru and this is what she recommends:
“Most tea brands will provide a suggested tea-to-water ratio, steep time, and water temperature. Contrary to popular belief, your water does not have to boil before being added to your tea (water boils at 212 degrees. The Queens’ Tea suggests brewing their Masala Chai at 185). The suggested temperature will help to bring out the perfect flavor blend. But, here’s another place where you can experiment. You may be surprised by and enjoy the flavor profiles found by steeping at a few degrees hotter or cooler.”
Allow the tea to sit for 3 minutes. This allows the flavor to fully integrate. For chai, Jackie also pointed out that the cloves will begin angling downward once the brew is ready. It’s a crazy phenomenon! Gently press downward, separating the loose leaf spices from the prepared tea.
Chai is delightful by itself, but Jackie recommends experimenting with the addition of warmed or steamed milk–not too much, but just enough to give it a little substance. Fun alternatives to dairy are coconut or almond milks. A teaspoon of brown sugar or a hint of vanilla flavor can turn spicy Chais like Masala into a sweeter treat too!
If you’re on the hunt for a french press, take a look at some of my favorites below! Jackie uses this bodum press, but any of the following will get the job done.
01: java french press // 02: theo french press // 03: gold french press // 04: bronzed french press // 05: le creuset french press // 06: olivewood french press // 07: 8-cup french press // 08: copper french press // 09: bodum french press // 10: silver french press // 11: ceramic french press // 12: ora french press // 13: oak wood handle french press // 14: bone china french press // 15: stainless steel french press
There are so many french press options, it’s pretty easy to find one that looks good enough to leave on the countertop 24/7. For those of you who are new to french pressing, it’s easier than you think to get quality coffee and tea at home! Big thank you to Jackie and Dose for helping me make chai the right way, and passing along helpful tips. If you’re in Salt Lake, definitely check them out!