In my previous post about my networked learning project, I discussed the idea of learning how to take a great picture with my digital camera. Well, I’ve had a change of heart. I am still interested in photography, but have discovered that my digital camera has very limited manual settings which could make this project difficult to complete.
So, a new idea has presented itself to me. Over the past few years I have become “addicted” to chai tea. I can hardly pass a coffee shop without trying their version of a chai latte. As much as I enjoy them, I don’t enjoy spending $4 or more for a chai. It would be great to learn how to make my own chai. I am also interested in learning why this drink has taken off in popularity in the United States. I know it originally comes from India, but I would like to know more about it. What, exactly, is in chai? How is it served in India? Is it popular in other countries? What is the history of chai? What are the cultural traditions surrounding chai?
In my travels to various continents, I have noticed that there are many traditions surrounding either coffee or tea. These drinks are taken very seriously and are intertwined with the culture. In Bolivia, banks serve strong, sweet espresso as customers wait in line. In Brazil, despite being the world’s largest coffee producer, I lived in a region where tea was drunk out of a communal gourd. In Kyrgyzstan, tea was served several times a day and men met daily at villages tea houses.
So, I want to learn how to make chai, but I hope this investigation leads me further into the culture and customs surrounding this drink.