As you know, I make my own chai. While on our trip to Toccoa, we stopped at two Whole Food Stores to buy some whole cardamom pods. I use whole spices in my chai, and they are hard to find. The nearest store with cardamom pods is about five hours away from our house, in Winston-Salem!
So we drove to the Indian grocery.
The bag of cloves above cost $8.99. It weighs 200 grams. Yeah -- do that math.
A bottle of McCormick cinnamon sticks at WalMart costs $5.48. It weighs 21 grams.
My bag of cinnamon sticks from our Asian market costs $4.95. It weighs 14 oz., nearly 400 grams.
Spices at the grocery store are a rip off. Find the ethnic markets in your area and shop there. You'll discover so many great foods and ingredients at a fraction of the cost.
Alright! On to the Great Tea Hunt! We discovered the Indian grocery. It ... um ... delayed our trip somewhat. After finding my cardamom pods, I was waylaid by the tea selection. I found this:
classifications of tea here.) I don't mind small or crushed leaves. So in my doubt, I passed it by. :(
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to find regular old tea leaves -- well, regular for Americans. We tend to buy pretty chopped up tea. My mother has received tea leaves from China, and when the hot water hit them, they expanded and were huge.
last year we searched all the grocery stores. They all sold only tea bags, even Twinings, even at Harris Teeter. I don't mean to be a tea snob, but seriously people!?
I know it's only loose tea and bulk spices, but right now I feel pampered and rich, to be honest. I have a wealth of tea joy in my cupboards, and it makes me happy. Now -- to drink it all. It may take years!
Update: Today I found a large tub of whole allspice in New Bern at a discount grocery store (very happy). Now I have homemade chai for years to come.