The Magic of Chai Tea

Chai tea is a delightful beverage that comes from the country of India. I first got to enjoy this beverage served hot with some tea biscuits, made by a former friend from Lanovala, India. Lanovala, India is famous for its candies, such as chikki a sweet made of nuts and jaggery, but that is another story. My eyes were transfixed as my friend scooped heaping amounts of the mixture containing black tea leaves, cloves, cardamom, and other aromatic spices into a pot filled with a blend of milk and water left to simmer on a stove. Some spoonfuls of sugar were added for sweetness, and the mixture was strained into mugs for serving. My taste buds were transported to another world, and my senses were excited by the warmth and richness that I found while drinking this tea. I had to have more of this tea in my life and I wanted to know more about Chai tea and its history.


Tea: An Ancient Beverage

According to the beverage known as Chai tea has a history of 5,000 years of being prepared and consumed. The word Chai comes from a Hindi derived word meaning ‘tea.’ Black tea grown in the Assam region of India was originally used for medicinal purposes, but when combined with traditional spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and others Chai tea was born. The popularity of drinking tea spread throughout Asia and to Western Europe from the 1700s and 1800s, especially because of the British East India Company. Great Britain had India as its territory and because of competition and market fears over Chinese tea production, India became a major producer of tea.

The tea plant itself is an evergreen, native to China, Tibet, and northern India. It is part of the Camelia family and known as Camelia assamica or Camelia sinensis. There are four main types of tea: green, black, oolong, and white, which depend on the time the plant is harvested and how it is processed. Tea that is produced in India typically creates stronger-tasting leaves, whereas tea grown in China or Japan produce more delicate lighter notes in flavor and have smaller leaves. The tea plant grows best at altitudes between 2,000 and 6,500 feet and can grow up to heights of 30 feet. Tea bushes are capable of producing quality tea leaves beyond 100 years!

There are over 3,000 varieties of tea in the world, and it is the most consumed beverage following water. Black tea is created when the tea is left to wither and undergo full oxidation, given it a very high caffeine content. Oolong tea undergoes partial oxidation, is quite fragrant, and has a caffeine level that falls between green and black tea. Green tea is allowed to wither only a bit after being picked and is rapidly heated. This type of tea has a low amount of caffeine and is usually brewed at a low temperature for a small amount of time. White tea is the most delicate and valued for its subtle tones and natural sweetness. This tea is not allowed to oxidize and produces the lowest amounts of caffeine when given a short steeping time at a low temperature. The longer you allow a tea to steep at a higher temperature, the more caffeine will be extracted.

Cinnamon, Cloves, & Cardamom

Specific aromatic herbs have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, one of the world’s oldest forms of healing developed in India. Cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom are three spices which stand out in their use in Chai tea. Each one has specific healthful qualities and flavor that are highly prized by many. In the ancient world, cinnamon was a spice more valuable than gold, as was salt. Cinnamon helps to treat colds, indigestion, and keep high cholesterol in check. Cinnamon also improves digestion and helps remove toxins from the body. It is valued as an expectorant and decongestant for respiratory conditions and the common cold or flu.

Cloves aid in digestion, have antimicrobial attributes, boost the immune system, and fight against oral disease. In Ayurvedic medicine, cloves are used for promoting healthy digestion, healing tooth decay and fighting bad breath. Cloves contain calcium, zinc, vitamin C, and other beneficial minerals. An anti-cancer property rich herb, cloves are highly valuable beyond just being a signature aromatic addition to tea.

Cardamom has a sharp flavor that is prized in desserts made in India and the Middle East. It is a digestive herb that is prized in Ayurvedic medicine for balancing all three doshas. Cardamom helps reduce bloating and gas, and the seeds can be chewed to freshen the breath. You can improve the blood circulation and help cure dental disease and certain urinary tract problems. Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world following saffron and vanilla. This highly prized herb helps control cholesterol, promotes good cardiovascular health, and has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

Best Retailers for Chai Tea

If you are looking to try out some Chai tea and you cannot make a trip to India, there are some fine retailers known for tea you can explore. My top three picks are Celestial Seasonings, Harney & Sons, and Teavana. Celestial Seasonings is known for its herbal tea selections with Cranberry Apple Zinger being a personal favorite beverage of mine, to be steeped in apple cider. Celestial Seasonings offers various forms of Chai tea, from Dirty Chai to India Spice Chai. A 5 count box retails on its website for $3.99.

Harney & Sons wins my heart because of its finely crafted packaging. A 1lb. bag of premium loose Chai tea retails online its site for $22.00 and it is worth every penny for the experience your senses will enjoy. Harney & Sons offers a wide selection of various teas packed in modern designed boxes, and darling metal tins that are reusable and look quite attractive in your cupboard or open on a table.

Teavana is a familiar site in many malls and typically passerby can pick up a sample of their latest tea for retail. Teavana offers quality loose-leaf chai tea in small sample sizes and in attractive metal tin containers. Purchasing Chai tea from Teavana ranges from $9.98 for 2 ounces of Maharaja/Samurai Chai Tea Blend, to White Ayurvedic Chai Tea for $12.98 online. I am also a fan of Teavana for the blooming or flowering tea, which provides visual entertainment, as you watch your tea unravel and blossom as it steeps.


Drink Tea For Life

Drinking tea is an activity that many people around the world enjoy every day. Tea can be enjoyed as a breakfast beverage, to be paired with an afternoon snack, or simply as a pick-me-up in the early evening. Chai tea is a popular beverage that provides pungent aromatic spices with anti-oxidant, and other healthy benefits to the body. Enjoy a nice cup of tea at home after perusing the selection of various retailers, or even have a cup of tea at the local café. Tea has been around for thousands of years because of its value to traditional cultures, balancing one’s health, tempering the mind, and easing the spirit.


How to Make Income as a Content Writer

The world of writing content for pay can seem a bit daunting at first. There are so many websites online that list places to work; some are legit while others are scams or no longer in use. When it comes to getting your feet wet writing content for money, you have to keep three things in mind. Play your cards right, and soon you will find another source of income to supplement your expenses, or perhaps writing copy may even become your main source of income.

Content Mills

Content mills are a place for a novice writer to get their start. If you have never had the discipline to write on deadline, this may be a good start for you. Do not expect to be rolling in dough, if you find yourself writing for a content mill. You just want to use a content mill to build up your writing skills and get acclimated to writing on deadline. The pay is usually low to start. However, many writers who were starting out utilized the opportunities presented, and they slowly rose through the ranks and made a name for themselves.

Pitching to Magazines

There are plenty of magazines online, and traditional paper periodicals that need good articles. Believe it or not, you can pitch an article successfully to a magazine, and get published and paid for your efforts. Most importantly, do not waste anyone’s time, and do your research. Take a look at the publication you want to submit to, and format your introduction letter, article pitch, and any other necessary details according to the magazine. See if what you want to write about has already been done before. Question the relevance of what you want to say, and remember that the audience is most important. Look into pitching to trade publications to get your start.

Freelance Job Boards & Contests

If you feel that you are a seasoned enough writer, look at job postings for bloggers and content writers via reputable job boards. ProBlogger and FreelanceWritingGigs are two job boards which update regularly with verifiable sources. Make sure your writing skill is up to par, and that you pay attention to the directives given for the project to which you submit. If you are into writing fiction or nonfiction, consider submitting to short story or flash fiction contests for money. Many online publications are looking for new writers and having to make short stories helps exercise your writing muscle.

Last Bit of Advice

Getting the ball rolling as a freelance content writer can be tough, but it is not impossible. Stay positive and continue to polish your writing skills, read often, participate in blogger networks, and stay on the lookout for writing opportunities. With patience and diligence, you will find that your writing skills and bank account will steadily improve.

Holidays & Head Colds

Well, Turkey Day has come and gone for 2016 and now the Holiday shopping season is here. One thing I would definitely recommend is to take a visit online to and see what awesome coupons and deals you can scoop up. I personally am avoiding the madness of malls and busy commercial strips this year, as I much rather prefer to make my purchases online.

As a new parent, it has been a fascinating learning curve raising my little one. I have a daughter under the age of 2 years. Aside from navigating moving around with the stroller while shopping, while also looking out for little hands grabbing things off of shelves… It adds a new layer of interesting to the stressors of shopping. Online shopping is my new best friend, so I don’t have to negotiate melt-downs for a toy or candy in a shiny wrapper, when I am reviewing the list of ingredients or features of an item, before deciding whether I want to purchase or not.

When it comes to dealing with the baby having a cold, I have to recommend one item I found to work quite well. Zarabees Naturals Baby Cough Syrup made with organic agave syrup seems to do the trick, when it comes to reducing baby coughing in the day, and while sleeping through the night. Zarabees comes in a grape flavor, which I am not too crazy about. However, I gave it a taste test, before giving it to the baby and it’s not bad. It doesn’t have that chemical manufactured grape taste, that I associate with other more recognized brands of medicines for wee ones.

The packaging for the box of medicine is quite adorable. I am a sucker for packaging, in addition to cute stories involving parents turned entrepreneurs, who develop something that wasn’t available on the market because their kid needed something a little different. Dr. Zak Zarbock, a pediatrician, and father is the inventor of this neat cough syrup, and I am happy to offer my baby something that is chemical free, inexpensive, and above all works well! The box is goldenrod and white, with a darling abstract bee image in a diaper on the front. Baby stuff can be so much fun to look at, especially with bold typeface, a clean look, and when it provides something that aligns with my values.

The little one has been getting over a cold for the past few days, so I am happy that local stores and online retailers carry this product. Local pharmacies carry this cough syrup for around $10. Looking online I saw that, another online retail favorite of mine, offers Zarabees for around $7.49. I didn’t have time to order online and wait for delivery, which can be pretty darn quick, with 1-day rush shipping, but better luck next time. There is nothing wrong supporting local businesses, especially around the holiday season. Shopping local, however, is a topic for another day.

What I Learned From Working at Small Businesses

Today many workers find themselves in part-time positions working as at-will employees. You may feel like you are stuck in a dead-end position, with no room for opportunity or growth. You may think that being a boss means you are no longer beholden to anyone; You just live off of exploiting your workforce. However, a change in attitude regarding how you view your position may help you see that you are surrounded by untapped resources.

Believe it or not, just because you own a business… whether it is a start-up online, or a brick and mortar, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to nurture your venture 24/7. Many owners sink a lot of their time, as well as their own personal capital, or take out loans to start and maintain their business in its early development stages. Just because someone looks like everything is going fine, doesn’t mean they are not scared about the unknown and known risks with their business. There are unique challenges and responsibilities when you are an owner that you don’t have to worry about as an employee. You need to have management skills, patience, perseverance, and great communication and negotiation skills. You need to be willing to take a gamble on your ideas, invest in yourself, and weather the storm of life’s ups and downs. There will be failures and successes. People will come into your life to help you grow, teach you a lesson, and make you a stronger business leader.

If you are working in a field that you do not have a sincere interest in, save up enough until you can quit and change careers. In the meantime, while you are at said unsatisfactory workplace, see what opportunities are right there in front of your eyes. Learn how to deal with managing human resources, figure out how accounting and expenditures work, examine the daily hum-drum activities that keep the business visibly afloat. At its core, beyond the good or service that is the motivating focus of the business, there are skills and resources that are utilized to create profit, growth, and development. A business is much like a living being that needs profit to survive, challenges to encourage growth to adapt and expand on its values, and development to keep up with the competition.

The values of trust, honesty, and communication determine your success. Be upfront but tactful with your employer and fellow co-workers. Do not make promises you cannot keep, and do not lie about your decisions and goals in regards to your given assignments. Doing so would hurt the business. If you are planning on making an exit, be forthright, and attempt to put in at least two weeks notice. If you plan to stay the course with your workplace, know this: If you are not moving up within the company within 2 to 3 years, you are making yourself obsolete in the future, or are going to be stuck at a lower level far too long. Make your time useful, by asking good questions of your employer, taking on assignments that will encourage growth, and build your leadership and organizational skills.

It is critical to your reputation in business, whether an employee or owner, to build and maintain trust with your customers. If you don’t have any customers, you won’t have a business for too long. Communicate clearly what you can deliver to your customers with products and services. Stay consistent with your presentation, be punctual, and be relevant to customer needs. Remember when you communicate on the phone and online, that there is another person on the other end. People may not remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Wow people with individually tailored customer service, be attentive, focused, and shine among the competition.

Working at a small business provides the opportunity to work closer with your employer, and experience some of the ups and downs of day to day maintenance of the business. Make yourself an invaluable asset, while building your skills and know-how to effectively venture into entrepreneurship. Remember to value your connections, and appreciate both your employer and customers.

Constantly learn and keep your motivation going by reading materials on entrepreneurship, finance, psychology, and take advantages of free seminars on subjects that interest you. Challenge yourself to meet new people, broaden your horizons with new experiences, and grow your circle of associates. We are all connected in-person and via online. Developing and cultivating your interests, skills, and social value will set you apart, and place you in a class of your own.