Enchanted Forest Chai with Fir Needles
White fir trees are a beloved Christmas tree found in the forests in the Pacific Northwest. The undersides of the needles appear silvery white and the trees often come “pre-decorated” with fir cones, but it is the rich, sweet Christmasy aroma that makes them dear to Christmas-loving hearts everywhere.
Now, we are creating a tea blend in the form of a shelf-stable mix you can keep in your pantry or on your tea station! The marriage of chai and evergreens is a match made in the forest. It may be surprising how well the two complement each other, but once you taste a cup of Enchanted Forest Chai, you will be smitten! Traditional chai spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, are joined by spices with a coffeeshop influence that proves irresistible:
Tangerine peels, that you can chop up and dry from tangerines you eat
Nutmeg and whole cloves, for a luxuriously spicy note of romance
Fennel seeds and/or star anise for mystery
And last, but not least, vanilla extract which sweetens the mix and ties it all up together in a lovely package with a big bow.
Combine these with loose black tea; my friend Bhanu recommends Assam. You may find Assam or another loose leaf black tea available in bulk from a well-stocked grocery store or online at Starwest Botanicals.
And fir needles. Choose a few small, healthy twigs from a live fir tree. Strip the needles off the twigs with your fingers and spread them out to dry for a week at room temperature.
Start drying the tangerine peels at the same time so they are ready at the same time.
Now, make tea!
Store Enchanted Forest Chai in a pretty jar in the cupboard or on your Tea Station and enjoy!Print
Enchanted Forest Chai with Fir Needles
The marriage of chai and evergreens is a match made in the forest. It may be surprising how well the two complement each other, but once you taste a cup of Enchanted Forest Chai, you will be smitten! Traditional chai spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, are joined by vanilla and spices with a coffeeshop influence that proves irresistible.
- Prep Time: 10 m minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 49 minute
- Yield: 24 servings 1x
- Category: beverages, mixes
- Cuisine: American
1 cup loose black tea leaves, such as Assam
1 cup dried white fir needles
¼ cup diced crystalized ginger
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons cinnamon bark chips
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons diced dried tangerine peel
2 tablespoons cardamom pods
2 tablespoons star anise, optional
1–2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1. Measure the tea leaves and fir needles into a medium mixing bowl, crunching the fir needles with your hands as you add them. Add crystallized ginger, fennel seeds, cinnamon bark chips, cloves, and tangerine peel.
2. Place the cardamom pods on a clean work surface and smash them with a rolling pin. Break the star anise apart with your fingers. Add both to the bowl and stir everything together well with your hands or a large spoon. Drizzle vanilla over the mixture and stir again to distribute evenly.
3. Transfer the tea to a 24 oz. jar and cover. A repurposed jar works nicely, be sure to find one that does not carry an odor; or use a quart-size canning jar. Label your tea blend and store in a cool, dark cupboard up to a year for best quality.
☕To make a CUP of Enchanted Forest Tea:
Measure 2 teaspoons tea mix into a mesh tea ball or tea strainer and place in your cup. Bring water to a boil and fill the cup, leaving a little room for cream or milk to be added before drinking. Dunk the tea ball 5-10 times. Cover the cup with a saucer and let steep 5-7 minutes. Remove the tea ball and sweeten as desired with honey or sweetener of choice. Add cream or milk (coconut milk is good) to make it creamy. Enjoy!
🫖 To make a POT of Enchanted Forest Tea:
Preheat the teapot with hot tap water and cover with a tea cozy or towel while you bring a kettle of water to a boil. Measure 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons of tea per cup capacity of your tea pot into an extra-large tea ball. When the water boils, pour the warming water out of the teapot. (You could save it to water plants.) Add the pre-filled tea ball and fill with freshly boiled water, dunking the tea ball 5-10 times. Cover and steep 5-7 minutes. Remove the tea ball if you like, or leave it in. Serve with honey and cream, if desired.
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