Cookie tins…they’re everywhere this time of year. And while finding a dozen homemade cookies inside is always welcome, these handy boxes are actually great for a host of other ideas, including this done-up Ultimate DIY Chai Kit.
This see-though, tin box was $4 at my local craft store. It isn’t very big, and yet I’ve managed to include a full set of 11 best-quality spices and teas in it. All of the ingredients are placed into small treat bags and tied before being loaded into clear cube boxes for a pretty presentation. Because they are used sparingly, a few of the ingredients are boxed together. There are 2 types of Indian tea in this Chai Kit, one is Assam (a.k.a. the Irish Breakfast Tea) and the other is Ceylon. While Assam is known for its bold, brisk, malty flavor, Ceylon is known for being bright and sweet. It’s important to also use Ceylon cinnamon here and not the more common Cassia cinnamon. First off, Ceylon cinnamon is superior in taste to Cassia cinnamon. It’s sweeter and lighter, with a delicate fragrance and taste. Also, it can be flaked apart and broken into pieces for easy packaging. Although not completely necessary, I like to line the inside of the box with cedar papers, also called cedar wraps. These wraps are typically used for grilling, but I use them here for a nature-inspired, decorative touch and also use any extra scraps for labeling the tea and spices. Milk is often an overlooked ingredient when it comes to chai making kits. Adding powdered milk to the kit makes the set truly complete, with everything you need from start to finish. Unlike regular milk, the powdered milk is ideal for adding creaminess to the tea without diluting it.
If you know a chai lover, this is the gift to give them this holiday season! To complete this gourmet kit, you’ll want to include a handwritten card or print out of your favorite chai recipe, like this Homemade Masala Chai recipe from Bruce Richardson, Contributing Editor of TeaTime Magazine. Start with a basic recipe and then get more adventurous…experiment until you get that perfect cup!
The Ultimate DIY Chai Kit
What You’ll Need:
2 sheets of cedar paper/wrap
tape or glue
6 Tbsp each of loose-leaf, black Indian tea ( I used Assam and Ceylon)
6 Tbsp Ceylon cinnamon, broken apart into small pieces
6 Tbsp of black peppercorns
6 Tbsp cardamom pods
6 Tbsp crystalized or dried ginger
6 Tbsp raw sugar, rock sugar, or vanilla sugar
6 Tbsp non-fat milk powder
3 Tbsp whole cloves
3 Tbsp fennel seeds
a few pods of star anise
1. Fill each ingredient into a treat bag, then close the bag tightly with a tie. Construct the 9 clear acetate boxes.
2. Place the fennel and cloves into one box, then the milk powder and star anise in another box. Place each of the rest of the ingredients into separate boxes.
3. Line the inside of the tin box with the cedar wrap papers. Use any leftover scraps as labels to write the tea or spice names on. Tape or glue the labels onto the boxes.
4. Place all the boxes into the tin. Your Ultimate DIY Chai Kit is complete!