Edible Vancouver Island January/February 2024


Shanti Bremer packages her tea in The Kitchen (in Chemainus), a VIHA-approved facility available for use by small producers.

TRADITIONAL CHAI RECIPE Prepare traditional chai with Shanti Chai & Co.'s 'Original Chai Blend'

THE HISTORY OF CHAI Chai is Hindi for tea. Masala chai, or spiced tea, is the brewing method popular in India. It typically contains spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and peppercorn. Those are simmered and combined with black tea, heavy hot milk and lots of sugar. The result is a spicy, rich, creamy drink, served in small portions, with one-third of coffee’s caffeine. While chai is widely made in India, it has a relatively short history. It was planted in the Indian state of Assam by the British in the mid-18th century. The British had been previously sourcing tea from China, who had been drinking it for millennia, and the British taste for it had swelled to £40 million annually. India became the biggest black tea supplier in the world and eventually began consuming it in its own style.

recipe for her Original Chai Blend, registered her business and designed a logo. “Everything started to flow very quickly from that point,” she says. Then she loaded her car with products and hit the road. She took a five-day trip across B.C., stopping intermittently at cafés and grocery stores to offer freshly brewed samples. “People would often be like, ‘Wow, you just came in with chai–that's so old school,’” Bremer says. “But sitting down for a cup of chai with people is, I feel, the whole point.” Gabrielle Plonka is a food journalist and hot beverage enthusiast from the beautiful West Coast.

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