Chai Update 2

Chalk one up for the marvel of the market system.  Five minutes after my last post I’d found a mug that looked like it would fit the bill.  One hour later I walked to a Starbucks two blocks from my office and found this exact mug on sale.  Unbelievable.  I thought my chai project was unstoppable now that I had the right tools.

Strainer teacup

Wrong!  Don’t forget that Uncle F#*k-Up is at the helm here.  I loaded up the strainer basket with my spice and tea and water, set the microwave to ‘perfection’ and sat back to gloat.  And gloat I did, right up until I saw the tea bubble out over the top like a baby spitting up.  Great.  I sopped up half my under-brewed chai, picked scalding hot tea leaves out of the inside of the microwave, took the lid off, and tried again.  Same result.  Was I dismayed?  NEVER!  I rested a plastic stirrer on the top to hold down the wild bubbles and tried a third time.  Bigger mess.

So…my problem isn’t the spice mix, it isn’t finding a microwavable double-walled vessel with a fine plastic screen, it is boiling water.  This should be the simplest task but without a good two or three minutes of boiling my chai will be destined for pathetic failure.  So I ask Teh Interwebs for a solution and find that microwaving water has its own issues that can be fixed with the addition of a wood or plastic object put IN the cup to give the bubbles a place to gently rise from, rather than launching skyward like a planet-ending phalanx of nuclear missiles from a sub.

Attempt 3:  boil water only in cup with wood stirrer in place.  Result:  boiling water with absolutely no spillage.  My problems are solved!  Add tea into strainer and boil water.  Result:  instant tea and spice explosion in the microwave.  I think my coworkers are going to mistake me for the cleaning crew for the amount of time I spend wiping up the kitchen with a sponge.  So now my engineering problem is this:  how to boil tea in a single vessel without it boiling over and spreading tea leaves into the container?  This is a true quandary, one that will involve burned fingers, teabags splitting open like sausage casings, complicated cover/strainer non-solutions, and lots and lots of wiping up.  Who said making chai would be simple?

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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  1. […] chai mystery has been cracked.  My previous attempts at making strong chai in the office, here and here, were foiled by physics (shakes fist at universe) and operator error (shakes fist at self).  As is […]

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