Herbs Merit Badge, Part I

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,301 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Garden Gate/Herbs Merit Badge, I decided to make my barista’s life a little easier. You see, I’m a real chai lover: that subtly spicy, oh so creamy, delectably frothy, so-thick-you-could-chew-it beverage of choice. Especially during the fall season (oh, let it begin soon). I could pretty much drink my weight in chai lattes. Okay, okay, I am a pint-sized gal, but still. You get my drift.

Anyway, I was really fine-tuning my chai specifications and it was starting to wear on my barista. She was beginning to get the shakes around me, and I don’t think it’s simply because she gets an employee discount on her grande, almond, double-shot mochas. It was because my order was a bit … well, specific. Tailored to fit my tummy’s needs. Complicated. As in,

Medium-sized chai latte with goat’s milk, heavy on the nutmeg, light on the cloves, sprinkled with cinnamon, extra cardamom, dash of grated ginger, drizzled with local honey, in a tall cup with room for sprinkles.

It was getting a little out of hand, I admit.

But the taste! Ah, bliss in a reusable travel mug … come to Mama, sweet thing, come to Mama.

So, anyway, when I realized there was a badge I hadn’t even touched yet and it involved knowing and growing herbs, I was all about it. Sadly for me, the first thing I learned is I don’t live in Sri Lanka, so growing my own cinnamon was going to be an unrealized dream for moi. But cardamom was a possibility, and I jumped in with both feet. I could already taste my homemade chai. It was going to be epic. It was going to knock my socks off.

It was going to take three years for my seedlings to be ready to harvest.



But in the meantime, my little seedlings are hanging (in an oh-so adorable pot) from my bathroom wall. They like humidity, you see, and so I plan on having a nice steamy bath a couple times a week, just for them (never let it be said I don’t know how to sacrifice for my planet).

One delicious indoor herb (er, plant? Tree? Bush? Bark? Pod?) down, a few more to go.



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    My friend makes the best homemade chai from scratch. She hosts a knitting group at her home once a week and recently made a batch. It was my first time ever having the homemade version and wow, was it delicious! I recently started using Celestial Seasonings decaf Chai tea as a base and then with my handy dandy handheld battery run areolator device( $20 from Amazon .com), I beat up hot milk into a nice foamy froth and place on top of the brewed tea in a big fat mug! On top, I sprinkle a small teaspoon of turbinado sugar and my homemade pumpkin spice ( that includes nutmeg and cardamon). The end result looks like a chai latte and the best part is that I get to control the ingredients! Good luck growing your cardamon and let us know in a few years how it all ends up. Now, all I need is real fall weather to get the full effect!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *