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Spices / Ingredients

Organic Assam FBOP Black Tea

Monk's organic Chai is a premium specialty grade product. We make no compromises to flavour and quality.

When creating our blend we spent a great deal of time testing out different grades of teas from different regions. After months of testing we found that the malty, caramely vanilla layers and slight orange zest in the flavour profile of high-grade Assam Black teas to be the best bridge between spiciness and sweetness of our blend.

We source our teas from several sustainable and organic family plantations in Assam. The tea is grown at or near sea level on either side of the Brahmaputra river. Teas from the region are known for exceptional, body, structure, malty flavours, and rich, vibrant colours. Our job as Chai Makers is to let the good work of the farmers shine through in every taste.

We use an FBOP or Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe grade. This grade of tea releases flavour very quickly when steeped on its own or prepared in our handmade Chai. It tastes outstanding as black tea or with mylks. The teas we use consists of large leaves, generally plucked in the first or second second flush with an abundance of tips. This tea works excellent in our chai for stovetop home-brewing or for our food service partners with commercial equipment, requiring instant results

Cayenne / Cayenne Pepper

It's likely that Cayenne pepper comes from French Guiana. The name Cayenne comes from the Tupi language spoken in parts of Brazil. In Tupi, Cayenne literally means pepper. It shares a similarity with the name chai in that many people call it Cayenne Pepper.

Cayenne peppers are long, tapering, 10 to 25 centimetres long, generally skinny, mostly red colored peppers, often with a curved tip and somewhat rippled skin, which hang from the bush as opposed to growing upright. cayenne peppers are considered to be a medium heat pepper and their Scollville units (spiciness) of 30,000 to 50,000 are at a very good level for most people. It’s hot enough to feel spicy, but not so hot as to numb the palette from other flavours. That's why we like to work with this particular variety.

Cayenne can be used to:

  • May Boost Your Metabolism
  • Naturally suppress appetite
  • Assist in Blood Pressure regulation
  • Aid in Digestive Health
  • Relieve some inflammation
  • Assist with Psoriasis.

We source our Cayenne from sustainable organic spice farms around Kochi in Kerala. The cayenne that we use packs a punch in flavour and heat and definitely helps to make our a special treat.

Pure Ceylon Cinnamon

We stay true to our specialty approach to blending chai, by using only pure organic Ceylon cinnamon in our blend at C5 - Alba grade. These are the highest grades of cinnamon produced.

Not to be confused with Cassia, which is typically what is sold in supermarkets and labeled as cinnamon🤔. Pure Ceylon is grown typically in the rich tropical soil of South India and Sri Lanka.

Ceylon Cinnamon sticks are also known as quills. After harvesting and drying, cinnamon quills curl while the much harder cassia has a single scroll-like curl. Ceylon Cinnamon (True Cinnamon) has a tan color compared to the dark red-brown of Cassia Cinnamon.

High-quality Ceylon Cinnamon sticks look like a fine cigar, with uniform thickness, color, quality, and clean edges. The sticks should be firm and compact without bark residue, made by rolling thin layers of good quality Ceylon Cinnamon pieces.

Cinnamon sticks should have minimal foxing, which is a term used to describe reddish-brown warps caused by dampness. The more foxing there is, the lower the quality of the Cinnamon. We love Foxes but not foxing 😍

Verum trees grow as leafy bushes, usually maxing out about 3 meters in height. They are first harvested at 3 years old, and continue producing well for 40-50 years. All cultivation and drying work is done by hand by experienced workers.

Cinnamon has been used in natural therapies since 3000BC. There has been a significant number of scientific studies carried out on the health benefits of true cinnamon. Some of the benefits recognised include Insulin and Glucose regulation, assists in blood pressure regulation, and aids in Alzheimer's prevention. Ceylon cinnamon also contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects.

We think it tastes great and is great for you. That's why we go to great lengths to get you the best. 💚

Ginger

That kick that you get from our chai is number of elements working together but a big contributor is the #ginger we use. Our ginger has a naturally hot, zesty and biting yet sweet and warm Pungency. It has spicy and slightly woody tasting notes.

The plant has grows from a rhizome or root and is a flowering plant, widely used as a spice around the world. It's a herbaceous perennial that grows annual false stems about one meter tall bearing leafy blades. The plants grow beautiful flowers ranging in bright colours from pale yellow petals, to purples, pink and deep browny or orangey reds.

Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, which also includes tumeric, cardamom, and galangal. Ginger originated as a native species in South east asia. It's one of the first spices to be traded along the spice route from Asia to Europe starting at about 25 BC. The first written mentions of the root come from the Analects of Confucious from around 475 BC.

Ginger is known to be among the healthiest spices on the planet and has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. It’s been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few of its purposes. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound within ginger. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects reducing oxidative stress on the body's vital systems.

Ginger has also been used in modern medicine to assist with chemotherapy side-effects, regulate blood sugar, treat chronic indigestions, treat menstrual pain, protect brain function, and help lower cholesterol.

We source our certified organic ginger from plantations in Shandong, China and West Bengal, India. India and China are the largest and among the best producers of the root, worldwide We choose our ginger for its fine quality, high oil content and deeply warming spiciness. It's a cornerstone flavour ingredient within our specialty chai and we wouldn't be able to create the amazing balance that we have without this interesting and tasty root!

Allspice

Allspice is an extremely aromatic spice that flavours both savoury and sweet dishes beautifully. The strong, spicy taste and aroma of this particular spice closely resembles a mixture of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper, hence the name Allspice! It is warm and sweetly pungent with peppery overtones as well as hints of juniper and peppercorn. Allspice carries a bit of heat as well, rating a 4 on the hotness scale. 

The allspice tree, classified as an evergreen shrub, can reach 10–18 m (33–59 ft) in height. Allspice can be a small, scrubby tree, quite similar to the bay laurel in size and form. It can also be a tall, canopy tree, sometimes grown to provide shade for coffee trees planted underneath it.

Allspice, as we use it, is from the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. It's also called, Myrtle Pepper, Jamaican Pepper or pimento. The fruits are picked when green and unripe and are traditionally dried n the sun. When dry they are brown and resemble large, smooth peppercorns. Fresh leaves are similar in texture to bay leaves and similarly used in cooking. Leaves and wood are often used for smoking, particularly in Jamaica.

Allspice has been used in natural therapies for over 500 years to treat:

  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Fever, colds, and flu
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Tooth and gum pain

The allspice that we use in our blend comes from two different organic farms outside of Negril and Kingston in Jamaica. We choose to source from these producers because they produce spice with high oil content and have an extensive quality assurance process.

Nutmeg

Did you know that nutmeg comes from the same family of plants as the magnolia? It's not a common addition to chai, but it is certainly one of our favourite warming additions to our specialty organic chai blend.

This seed comes from a tropical evergreen called the Myristica fragrans. Native to the Molucca's or spice islands of Indonesia, the outer shell of the fruit can be pickled or fermented in drinks. The fleshly bits surrounding the Nutmeg seed is the source of the spice mace. Nutmeg trees begin fruiting after about 8 years after being planted. They can grow up to 80 feet in height and continue to bear fruit for around 60 years. They almost look like Nashi's or white peaches before they split showing they are mature and ready to be picked. The seed is the actual nutmeg which is dried before being distributed for sale. Nutmeg has been traded around the world from Thailand and South India through Arabia and into the ancient Roman empire. Trading of the spice has been going on since about the 1st century AD. During certain points in history, Nutmeg was worth twice the price of Gold!

Nutmeg has been used for centuries in natural therapies to assist with; headaches, soothing indigestion, strengthening cognitive function, detoxify the body, boosting skin health, alleviate mouth ulcers, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and improve blood circulation.

We source our nutmeg from organic farmers across the islands of Java and Sumatra. We choose our nutmeg because of its rich perfume, high natural oil content and freshness.

Black Pepper

Organic black peppercorn is integral in the flavour profile of our specialty chai.

It adds an earthiness to the flavor of our Chai, woody, piney, and sharp at once. Black pepper also has a unique pungent flavour that is both biting and hot to the palette. Used in the right quantity it adds a rich layer to our blend.

Black pepper has been used in natural therapies for centuries as an anti-inflammatory agent as well as its relatively strong antibacterial properties. It has also been used as a natural preservative to increase the shelf-life of certain foods because of those antibacterial properties.

Black pepper has been used in natural therapies to treat

  • Respiratory disorders
  • Coughs
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Anemia

Our black pepper is sourced from organic plantations near Kochi, where the farmers also grow papaya, pineapples and mangos from the rich local soil.

Cardamom Cardi B

Organic Green 'True" Cardamom is a key flavour component to our specialty Chai blend.

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a spice belonging to the Zingiberaceae family of plants that are grown and cultivated in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Tanzania, Guatemala and India.

The colour and size of cardamom pods differs depending on the species. Its two main types are green and black. The green variety, also known as “true” cardamom, is most commonly found in stores.

True cardamom has a sweet and pungent flavour, with hints of fresh lemon and mint. These pods contain brown aromatic seeds that can be ground to release a potent flavor.

Cardamom can be used in both savoury and sweet recipes. We source our organic cardamom from the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala. The consistency and depth of flavour of the spice being grown in the region are of the highest possible quality.

In traditional medicine, cardamom has been used for digestive-related disorders like diarrhea, dyspepsia and constipation.

A study in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology found that cardamom “exhibited promising anti-H. pylori activities.” This bacterium is involved in various digestive problems, including chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.

Cardamom is a good source of important phytochemicals, such as limonene, pinene, myrcene, alpha phellandrene, alpha terpineol, alpha terpineol acetate, cineol, heptane and phytol, to name a few. These compounds contribute to the health supporting properties of cardamom, which include the following properties:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory

Star Anise / Organic Star Anise (Illicium Verum).

We are talking about all things Star Anise today, as part of our series of posts created to put the spotlight on all of the different ingredients that we blend into Organic Chai.

We source our Organic Star Anise from Guangxi in China. This lush agricultural region is famous for growing the spice. Star anise is native to southern China and Vietnam. The spice is a seedpod that grows from an evergreen tree. The evergreen takes a minimum of 15 years to produce the seed! European traders introduced the Star Anise to Europe in the 16th century. During this period it was used in syrups, jams and puddings, because of its sweet flavour. The Star anise has many uses across cooking and traditional medicine.

Star Anise is a pungent spice with sweet licorice notes. It's flavours are developed through our Chai blending process and used to add a subtle compliment to the rest of the Spice blend, and specialty grade tea.

Some of the health benefits of consuming Star Anise include:

  • Immune Support
  • Antifungal properties (Anethol)
  • Antibacterial properties (Anethol)
  • Aids digestion helping with Bloating and indegestion
  • Natural Antioxidant
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