I recently had the pleasure of catching up with some old friends in Sydney whose son, Piero, has just launched a business making Sticky Chai, a very aromatic concoction of black tea.
At an old stable in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Piero and his business partner hand-mix black tea with raw honey, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, cloves and black pepper, creating their version of the south Indian favourite masala chai. Not content with making the tea, they are now making a place to drink it, and when I was there, work was going strong on a “den” in the Inner West area of buzzing Sydney.
Having been utterly seduced by the tea, I stashed a fair supply in my suitcase, and since returning half way across the world, it has become my morning staple. Piero’s mother had promised it would do, but I foolishly presumed that was motherly love talking. I find the preparation a pleasing ritual (simmering two tablespoons in 150ml of water in a saucepan for two minutes, then adding 350ml of milk and a dash of honey and further simmering for two to three minutes before carefully straining into a petite teapot), and the result is a mix between an invigorating wake-up and a fragrant rush of heady exotic aroma. It may seem an extravagance to order tea from Australia, but postage-friendly pouches for A$15 make it blissfully easy and well worth the wait.