Ayurvedic coffee and chai
This post is dedicated to someone due to their curiosity of how to make the perfect cup of coffee and also make it ayurvedically.
I would advise people to make it several ways to define and create discernment to learn from. In doing this you learn the why and the how of what is ayurveda. In this you see how it tastes but more so you see how it feels in your system and have more discernment grow as to what is ayurveda and how it works.
The idea behind a chai is that the milk and sugar balance the drink making it more digestible as well as more pleasing to the system. You would never pour cold milk or cream into a chai so why would you do the same to a cup of coffee. Adding cold to hot creates a subtle (but not really subtle) dysfunction that has an obvious impact on the system when brought to awareness.
The spices in a masala chai (notice here that normal chai does not include spices) help the digestion of the drink as well as they would change due to the seasonal doshic impact. Also, in blending spices, we need to understand the qualities and actions of those spices. In example of this, ginger and cardamom are never used together in a chai due to their potency or virya. one is hot and the other is cold. These are opposites and will create problems in the further processes of digestion and assimilation. In a cup of coffee, Cardamom can be used to reduce the acid in coffee, while neutralizing the effects of caffeine. So you see, most of what is ayurveda lies no where near what your tongue desires and rests all in the knowledge of what is. In this, the final result is something that pleases the taste buds and desires but at the same time is healthy for the system and does not create dysfunction that further creates disease.
As much as has been touted by Western research about coffee being bad in the past, has now been flipped once again much like everything else. Confusion is the outcome. Coffee is now considered healthy and has been found to be good for Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, and liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. This is all Western research though, which is very limited view and also why it changes with the tide. Bottom line, coffee remains acidic. This goes against the Western research into alkaline systems and disease. All of it, as you can see is stating facts that oppose each other as we do not have any foundational knowledge to come from that links all of our paradigm together. The acidic nature of coffee aggravates the intestinal mucosal tissue and will cause inflammation and stops assimilation when the intake is in to great of quantity or the quality is too strong. This is part and parcel of why cream or milk and sugar is used to balance.
Another note here is that a 32 ounce coffee or chai is never going to be healthy. A little is medicinal, excess is just excessive and will create imbalance. In this you can see the plight of the mind and desires over proper functioning intelligence. this is known as pragnaparadha or crimes against wisdom in Ayurveda. It is the main casualty of all disease. In India, a chai or coffee is served in a very small shot glass type proportion. It stimulates digestion. In a large proportion it will slow the digestion.
Here is the recipe:
1. Heat your water. The temperature of the water for a coffee has the utmost importance. too hot and it burns the oil in the bean. Too cold and it doesn’t brew properly. This recipe is for the French Press due to its excellence in producing a balanced coffee. Water for French press coffee should be heated to 195°F to 200°F, not boiling (212°F at sea level and elevation does contribute to the proper brewing). If you use a stovetop kettle, take it off just before it reaches a boil and then use a thermometer to check and see when it cools to the right temperature. A lot of newer electric kettles, though, have a setting for this temperature.
2. Measure out 1/2 cup coffee beans.
3. Grind the coffee beans on the coarsest setting in a burr grinder or a short sharp pulses in a blade grinder to make thicker evenly-sized grains of ground coffee.
4. Two tablespoons of grounds for a cup of coffee is a general rule. This is where a person’s preference comes in. A little more for a stronger cup, a little less for a weaker cup. All of this is within using knowledge to not go out of the bounds of what remains balance though or in other words don’t let your preferences go beyond proper knowledge. Put the ground coffee into your French press, then pour the proper amount of hot water for how much is being made. It is better to make a full French press of coffee rather than to make a small amount in a large press. Then stir gently for the full 4 minutes using an up and down motion.
5. Steep and stir this for 4 minutes exactly. Any more and it it bitter and any less it does not brew the grounds enough. If you are using a timer, when the it goes off, immediately press the coffee, and pour it into a carafe. Press it slow as it builds pressure as you press and if you do it too fast, grounds can get around the filter screen and stay in the coffee making it bitter. It can be wise to use a strainer to pour the coffee thru to catch the fine grounds that may have slipped through.
6. Pour the coffee into a small pot. this is where you would add the cream or milk as well as the sugar and any spices that you might use such as cardamon. Cardamon is interesting. If you cook it, you cook away all the potency, it evaporates. Same with cinnamon. This makes a really nice smell but the actually potency is lost. Bring the mixture to the point just before it boils or right before it flash boils as it is called.
7. Pour into a cup and drink immediately. Enjoy.
A really good experiment to try here is to make a regular cup of coffee as well and test it against this. You can also just put the cold cream or milk as well as the sugar into the hot cup of coffee and try this in comparison to this other one you just made. This is where you learn by experience, the best way to create proper knowledge and discernment. In doing this you will be able to feel the difference of how heavy and displeasing to the system a cup of coffee is when you just pour cold into the hot and mix.
By heating the sugar and milk or cream it becomes lighter as well as the entire drink becomes more digestible and pleasing.
Ayurveda is based in subtleties in the details of how things work. Discernment is the key to understanding and creating the functioning of a healthy mind.