It's Indian in origin, brewed from plain black tea with a little milk, spiced with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, maybe some fennel seed, maybe some other things. I have my chai with soymilk, which should not have a flavor so strong that it overpowers the others. Does anyone have any chai suggestions? Over the holidays I plan to experiment with making my own and am seeking advice. I'll use loose black tea, of course*, but am not sure about spice blends.
Chai to consider (or avoid):
Mudd House (1724 M St): Good chai, rich and not too watery, make sure they don't use spoiled soymilk, which happened to me once.
Zebra Lounge (Wisconsin Ave and Macomb St): Terrible chai, thin, watery, no flavor. I bought a cup and didn't bother finishing half of it.
Left Bank Cafe (4731 Wisconsin Ave): Good chai, a little more spiced than most, which is refreshing. Nice atmosphere as long as people aren't conversing loudly--it's a small place. Last time I visited, they were playing the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. Say what you will, I consider this a plus rather than a minus.
*Whenever I use teabags instead of loose tea, I feel a little bit like a tool; this is not to say that I don't use teabags all the time, it just feels the same as eating sushi with a fork. What if someone sees me?