At Shanti Elixirs we love collaborations! We delight in working with and supporting local businesses and farmers to create a truly unique experience for you, our beloved hive network.
For us, the essence of collaboration is reciprocity: the act of balancing giving and receiving; and when Shanti decided to marry Jun with AppalaChai!’s carefully curated chai blend, she knew she had received something wonderful to give to the world.
In this blog, we will weave a tapestry of the rich, complex and delicious history of chai; we will learn the health benefits of our Chai Jun and offer a blessing for every sip. We are delighted to share our delicious Jun with you and hope the aromatics transports you to a reciprocal collaboration of your own. Grab a bottle and join us at our table. We have so much to share!
Appalachai! (ginger, cinnamon, coriander, clove, fennel, cardamom, star anise, black peppercorn and Darjeeling black tea)
CHAI: A Brief History
The history of Chai is as robust as the beverage itself. We know what we’ve been told about the politics of tea but what we weren’t taught was how, when and why Chai, a specifically Indian beverage, came on the scene & how it shifted the narrative of tea drinking from an elite colonial pastime to a working class libation.
It is important to note that Chai, meaning tea, is an ancient form of Ayurvedic drink dating back 5000-9000 years. The original form of the tea was made without tea leaves but included the same variation of spice blends that have become synonymous with traditional Chai. It is said that the drink was enjoyed by Indian royalty who steeped this beverage for its medicinal and healing benefits.
It wasn’t until the British came into the picture that the story of Chai changed, and in all respects, gradually moved from the realm of the royal and elite to becoming the people’s beverage of choice.
Around 1835 the British began growing Black tea in the Assam region of northeast India where it was exclusively exported to Britain to be sold to the wealthy and elite. This practice of exclusivity, of harvesting and exporting 90% of the crop abroad went on for hundreds of years until the 1960’s when the Great Depression hit and tea export ground to a halt. The East India Company, the major British exporter of tea, had to cut back on their prices and turned their marketing efforts to the Indian population.
By the time India got its independence and the factories were turned over to Indian companies, the caffeinated black tea had made a large enough impact on the population. However, Indians would eschew the delicate and expensive teas for the cheaper, ground up versions that were coming from their factories.
A preference for the dark, fragrant and robust blend became popular and it would be set to boil for hours, creating a syrup-like liqueur that would then be spiced with the ayurvedic masala (meaning spice blend), milk and sugar to create a hot, sweet and creamy beverage, a faux-pas by British standards.
Masala Chai merged the Ayurvedic roots with the British teas and created something new. This version of Chai is what took hold of India and what Indians had made and claimed as their own. The spice blend would vary by what was available in the homes or from the local farms.
Shanti Elixirs Chai Jun
True to the nature and the history of Chai, of taking the backbone ingredients, adding to it and creating something new, we here at Shanti Elixirs are delighted to offer you our Chai Jun this fall season.
Our take on Chai Jun uses those same warming spices that are synonymous with traditional Chai masala, and blend them with our signature Jun. Our elixir delivers a satisfyingly sweet and refreshing experience that is packed with the pre+probiotics that many have come to know and love when experiencing our Jun.
Benefits of CHAI
The masala of Chai are spices that individually hold unique health properties that when combined, pack a powerhouse of nutrition for the wellbeing of our bodies. The wealth of sustenance found in each ingredient truly highlights our theme for this flavor: BEE SUPPORTED
Sophia, the Sales Bee of our Hive says “I just love this flavor! It fills me with warmth and I feel that I’m doing something healthy for my body with each sip.” And because our Jun is always made in small batches with real, organic ingredients, here are some of the beneficial qualities of each ingredient that is available with every bottle of our Chai Jun:
Ginger is antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial. This root is rich in antioxidants, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well for its ability to relieve nausea and improve digestion. Ginger contains the minerals Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus and Zinc as well as the electrolytes Sodium and Potassium. The vitamins Folate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid( vitamin B-which treats nerve damage), Pyridoxine (B6-which is important for normal brain development and keeping the nervous and immune system healthy), Vitamin A, C, E and K.
Cinnamon contains calcium, manganese, magnesium, Vitamins A+K. The bark helps to regulate insulin and glucose balance in the body. It can help boost cognitive activity and brain health and help to stimulate new neural pathways in the brain. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and is globally used for digestive health. It is also antifungal and antibacterial.
Coriander is a rich source of fiber, calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron. The seeds are rich in phytonutrients and Vitamin C. Coriander is detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-microbial and is packed with antioxidant properties. The small seeds are packed with linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acids. It is purported that coriander can help relieve the symptoms of skin disorders, lower cholesterol, aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the liver, treat nausea and stomach disorders, regulate blood pressure and promote bone health.
Cloves contain the minerals and vitamins: Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, Iron Vitamin E, B1, B6, Vitamin C, K and A, Folate, Niacin, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin and Vitamins A and K. Cloves have high antibacterial activity and high antioxidant levels. Clove aids with coughing, asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis. The spice can be chewed to help relieve sore throats and inflammation of the pharynx.
Fennel is high in Vitamin C, K & A, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Niacin, beta carotene and flavanols.
The vitamin C in fennel, acts as an antioxidant, is critical for immune health, tissue repair and collagen integration in the body. Fennel is packed with beneficial essential oils, is antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anticancer.
Cardamom, a member of the ginger family contains the nutrients Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin C, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus and Zinc. The pods are anti microbial, anti-inflammatory, can help improve heart health and can improve digestive health. Cardamom can help regulate blood sugar, while also aiding in oral health. The extracts have been shown to have antidepressant properties and can have adaptogenic qualities in the body.
Star anise contains significant amounts of Iron as well as the antioxidants linalool, quercetin, thymol, terpineol, caffeic acid, anethole, kaempferol and coumaric acid. The seeds also contain Vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium as well as the most valuable and sought after compound shikimic acid, which plays a very important role in anti-influenza medications. Star Anise is anti fungal, can lower the risk of cancer, promotes healthy skin, supports respiratory health, can help stimulate the immune system, aids in digestion, boosts blood circulation and aids with sleep. Star anise can boost the sex drive and can help regulate the menstrual cycle.
Black peppercorn contains the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, folate and vitamin K. Black pepper can aid with digestion, weight loss, respiratory health, and is antibacterial in nature. One of the most important elements of black pepper is that it enhances the nutrient bioavailability of other herbs and compounds by transporting their benefits to different parts of the body. It can also maximize the efficiency of other foods, like turmeric. It is also effective for improving memory as well as gastrointestinal health.
Sip, Savor + Share
Finally, the leaves are changing to hues of reds, oranges and yellows. The mornings are crisp but the days are still warm and comfortable enough to play outside without the bulky layers that you will need in a few short months.
Right now, the weather is perfect and, if you have the space, an outdoor fire to welcome the fall is ideal. The evening is cool enough for the fire to warm you sufficiently but not cold enough to require a hot drink. Instead, you uncap the bottle of Chai Jun you procured at your local Co-op this weekend and take a sip. The melodies of cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and fennel play across your tongue followed by that crisp tang of Jun that you’ve come to know and love. How refreshing.
Sitting back from your fire, you look up at the trees and watch as the wind swirls through the branches, gently tugging the dried leaves down for a dance. You listen as acorns fall, pitter pattering on your roof and you smile in wonder and marvel at the efficiency and cyclical beauty of nature.
As you listen to the laughter of your loved ones ebb and flow around you, you silently give thanks for all the blessings you have received in your life thus far. You offer a blessing onto the wind for all beings near and far to be loved, held and supported in all their endeavors. Quietly, you raise your bottle in gratitude and delight in the moment that you get to share with your loved ones and with nature.
In honor of your sweet blessing, we offer our own:
Shanti’s Blessing: Come as you are. Come to the table and you will be fed. You are enough. You are woven into the fabric of all and may you be warmed and delighted from within. May you feel attended to and cared for at all times. May your senses be heightened and warmed with the blissful sweetness of honey and home.
Shanti and the Shanti Elixirs Hive