I’ll admit, I’m a huge tea-bagger (rim shot). In family-friendly terms, I would definitely say I mostly use tea bags. They’re easy, convenient, and make little mess. Unless you’re my chinchilla, who likes to pull tea bags out of his mumma’s cup because he’s devious like that (but adorable). But every now and then, I like to invest in a good loose-leaf tea to make when I have a little more time to prepare and savor my tea.
If you’re in Columbus, I can’t recommend enough visiting Zen Cha Tea Salon. It is an absolute must whenever I visit. Located in the Short North and Bexley, they specialize in teas from all over the world, bubble tea, and their own unique fusions. While their almond bubble tea is my most ordered item, my hands-down favorite blend of theirs is the cinnamon mint chai. The best way to describe it is a hug in a mug: It’s warm, relaxing, and the mint is just enough to complement the stronger spices while soothing your senses. It’s a perfect late afternoon/early evening tea to enjoy while winding down.
While Zen Cha offers their teas in-house with their food menu, many are available to take home in loose-leaf form. Since I only visit Columbus every so often, this is a great opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite teas until I stop by for something new.
With the cinnamon mint chai, I bust out my mug, kettle, matrioshka measuring spoons (they add a little something special) and infuser. I use the Fred & Friends Mana-tea, mine appropriately named Barbara (Veggie Tales, ftw).
Preparation for this is pretty simple; for an 8 oz. cup of tea, add 1 teaspoon of tea to the infuser, steep in hot water for 3 minutes, add sugar to taste, and add milk of choice. The attendant helping me suggested half and half, but I typically have 1% on hand at home. While it may not be quite as rich as they serve in the salon, it’s enough milk fat for my taste. I’ve tried skim milk in other teas and I find it to be too watery for my liking, so I would say some milk fat is necessary for taste and consistency.
The end result: a sweet milky tea with just enough spice and calming mint. Ahhhh…