Aditi Chai - Authentic Masala Tea
Aditi Master carefully prepares and brews Aditi Chai to allow anyone to serve the regal masala tea to customers wants to experience something different than coffee! The masala tea is prepared in small batches in a small, yet pristine, commercial kitchen just five minutes from downtown Seattle. The prized chai recipe has been with Aditi’s family for generations, and has origins in the most "foodie" of Indian cities, Surat.
We source spices from collectives across the world, paying attention to place of origin, growing conditions and end quality. Each spice is cupped to test for flavor profile, natural sweetness and body. Our brewing process begins with whole spices ground freshly for each batch, ensuring that the spices retain their maximum flavor. We slowly steep fresh herbs and ginger root to build complexity, and later add tea leaves. The result is a full bodied and balanced tea concentrate suitable for mixing 1:1 with whole milk, or alternatives.
How to prepare Aditi Chai
Aditi Chai is supplied as a concentrate--it is really too strong to drink right out of the bottle!! Patience, young Jedi. Traditionally (and perhaps even ideally), the Aditi Chai concentrate is mixed one to one with whole milk in a saucepan and brought to a rolling boil on the stove top. Those who like their tea "strong and sweet" can choose to add one more tea-bag and a 1/2 to one teaspoon of sugar per service just as tea concentration is brought to boil. Let the tea froth up to the top of the pan, remove from heat to cool just a touch (bringing the froth down) and then repeat the froth one more time before removing from heat entirely. If you've made Aditi Chai with whole milk, there may be a very delicate suggestion of cream (called "Malai") that can form on the top. You are almost expected to blow that cream away as you cool the tea to sipping so that you don't get it stuck in your mustache!
In a commercial setting, the blended masala tea can be heated in a microwave, on stovetop, or through a milk steamer. We do not recommend attempting to create foam, nor do we recommend serving the tea with milk foam for the most authentic experience. In settings where multiple cups may be served on short order, you may place a glass carafe on old fashioned coffee pot warmer. For even larger volumes, a percolator on warm setting can keep even more tea ready at a comfortable serving temperature for longer periods as food safety standards allow.
Non-dairy alternatives such as coconut, hemp, soy, rice and surprisingly "pea" milk are great alternatives to whole dairy milk. Again, we recommend versions with some fat for best flavor and buzz.
Why Masala Tea
There are many reasons that tea is the number one prepared food beverage in the world (number two overall following water!). Search with Google, Bing, Siri, Alexa, or Cortana to see why most people prefer tea. You'll learn that even the rarified group "millennials" prefers their chai to coffee. All you'll need is one cup of Aditi Chai to understand why it is the most regal of masala teas.
Aditi grew up in Bombay (now Mumbai) and had the privilege of living in a joint family with her grandfather, uncles, aunts and parents. Good food and good company always found their way in her home! Aditi's mother and two aunts would go the local Santa Cruz market daily, hand select fresh produce, and prepare fresh meals three times daily. Although she didn’t appreciate it growing up (more on this later), her mother is an exceptional cook. Unknowingly, she had grown up with incredibly tasty, authentic, fresh "farm to table" food!
What mom didn't know
One of Aditi's uncles is particularly fond of Bombay's rich street food. He would steal Aditi away on his scooter in the afternoon or after supper and take her to eat at his favorite street vendors. Some of Aditi's most memorable memories include plans with that same uncle to "eat dinner" at home and then go out for a “long walk”, which of course, included a stop along the way to either Mani’s dosa stand or Gokul’s for ice cream! Years later, from almost any of the street vendors directly opposite Aditi's college (Mithibai) in the Bombay suburb of Juhu, Aditi found the best venue for eating Vada Pav and Mumbai masala sandwiches!
Despite growing up loving food, Aditi was entirely unprepared for the next phase of her relationship with food and local markets. In fact, just before her marriage, her mother warned her future mother-in-love “our daughter has never set foot in the kitchen, so please make sure your son doesn't expect good food”. Moving to Menlo Park, California after their 1999 wedding, Aditi quickly learned that she had better learn to cook if she wanted good food. Even with the many Indian tech workers, there was very limited authentic Indian fare available, and only a small grocery warehouse in Berkeley that served street food in one corner. Aditi's mother-in-law is also an exceptional chef, as is Aditi's grandmother-in-law, and Aditi quickly started collecting their recipes and techniques. She integrated the best from several family recipes and Aditi made each dish her own. Soon she was not only cooking her childhood favorites, but exploring global cuisine.
Love of Local Markets
Local markets and global cultures with diverse cuisine again played a more prominent role when Aditi and her husband moved to Basel, Switzerland. Every day, farmers would pick produce in the early mornings to be sold in the “Markt Platz” (Market Place, Basel's central square). She learned the value again of daily produce selection and of meeting and speaking with the vendors and trusting their recommendations. She met local bakers from the coffee shops around Basel and from travels in Europe. Whether a meal from a neighborhood cafe, or from a Michelin-starred Chef, culinary experiences opened up a new world to Aditi and sparked further culinary interest.
The bounty of fresh Pacific Northwest produce further inspired Aditi when she moved to Seattle in 2005. She had little insight she would enjoy her culinary journey so much, and would actually become so passionate about cooking and entertaining! Along with her husband, she carefully tended a small vegetable farm on a small one-acre plot in Yakima County, east of the Cascades. One year the garden yielded 1000 tomatoes, and another year, her husband brought home 200 "Hungarian Hot" goat peppers hand picked by him from their favorite Krueger Pepper Farms. Aditi was forced to learn what real farm-to-table really meant. Aditi was in heaven with so much fresh produce that she found herself volunteering to cook for family and friends for any or no occasions!! Her popularity as a chef grew among friends and family, and by popular demand, she and two other friends started a “pop up series” under the name Cilantro Sisters. Their first event was a sold-out plated seven course meal at the Pike Place Market's Atrium Kitchen, and the Cilantro Sisters continue to serve innovative cuisine around the Seattle Metro area through regular pop-ups. Aditi and her husband are long time supporters of their local Mercer Island Farmer's Market, where they regularly meet long time friends from Mercer Island, the Puget Sound, and the Yakima Valley.
The next Phase
In 2018, Aditi has started making her signature Aditi Chai available commercially to bakeries and coffee shops in the Seattle metropolitan area. Complete the form below if you'd like to sample and then serve Aditi Chai!
Indulge in Aditi Chai at Seattle Area Venues including:
Congratulations to Evan Andres, Heart Baker & Owner, Columbia City Bakery and James Beard Awards 2017 Semi-finalist, for his recent mention in the New York Times article "36 Hours in Seattle". Of the millions of activities one could engage in in Seattle, it is particularly telling that the Times would select his Columbia City Bakery as one well worth the visit!
11) 9:30 a.m. BAKED BREAKFAST
You can find Columbia City Bakery’s award-winning loaves at restaurants and farmer’s market stands around town, but it’s worth an early-morning detour to the cafe, which last year began serving seasonal hand pies and hot-pressed sandwiches. Snack on some soft pretzel knots (75 cents each) while waiting for the main attraction: a fresh-pressed Vermont Club with turkey, bacon, Cheddar and apple-onion jam on pain de campagne ($11).
Interested in Serving Aditi Chai?
Please leave us a note below and we'll get back to you in a "cutting!"