I’ve been doing my best to avoid sugar as I can feel the negative effects on my health. Of course, the many scary articles that have been appearing lately have certainly helped to inspire me to work on getting it completely out of my diet. I won’t use any of those disgusting (not to mention carcinogenic) artificial sweeteners under any circumstances; I hate the taste of stevia; and none of the other alternatives quite do it for me.

So when I discovered that the owner of a nearby cafe uses jaggery (gur or gud) in his chai, I decided to give it a try—and I loved it! To my surprise, I actually like the taste better than regular sugar. The jaggery adds a richness that sugar just can’t match. And it’s a healthier alternative. How good is that! And since I often have a latte instead of chai, I also decided to see how that would be. I thought it might be too strong, but as with the chai, I felt that it actually improved the taste. Oh, and it is actually good for you, especially if it’s organic.

Jaggery is usually sold in big lumps that may or may not be molded like these.

Jaggery is usually sold in big lumps, but you can also find it packaged and ground

Jaggery is mostly sold in big lumps, but since that’s not so useful for adding directly to the brew, I’ve asked my friend to get some for me and grind it up the way he uses it, which he has kindly consented to do. I’m going to suggest that he put it on the menu, but I guess he thinks few people will be interested in trying it. I googled “chai with jaggery” and only got a few hits, but according to this post on different ways to make Indian chai, it’s not so uncommon.

When it's ground up like this, it dissolves well in chai or coffee.

When it’s ground up like this, it dissolves well in chai or coffee

Yes, yes, I know…for many people, the morning cuppa is something almost sacred and changing anything about it is almost unthinkable. But probably there are a few adventurous people out there who might be up for giving it a try. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think. If you try it two or three times, you might be surprised to find that you really like it—or even, like me, that you actually love it!

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