Chai tea, mmmm. Delicious. I am obsessed with Chai tea. I just can’t help it. There’s something about the silky and spicy tea that gets me going, especially during the autumn months. It’s such a good tea for any occasion, whether you need to get up and go in the morning, or you want to cuddle up into your coziest blanket and read your book.
Discovering Chai Tea
When I was younger (maybe 12 or so), my family visited an Indian family for dinner. Now, I love Indian food. And I mean the real Indian food, not the Americanized stuff that can be too sweet or too creamy. I remember the house being full of the smell of wonderful spices. We had an amazing dinner. But after that came the best part! The mother made me Chai tea from scratch! From Scratch! This was the most amazing drink I’d ever had and since then I couldn’t get enough of it.
You Can Make Your Own Chai!
I used to buy Chai tea bags until I discovered that I, too, could make chai tea from scratch. It isn’t as hard as you’d expect! You may need to track down some rarer ingredients if your supermarket doesn’t carry the more ‘exotic’ spices, but overall you should be fine. I like my Chai on the spicier side, but if you like it a little more gentle, then just reduce the amount of allspice and peppercorns. I also opt for loose leaf tea, as it adds that extra pizzaz that you’re looking for in this tea. Any black tea will do, but the best bets are Darjeeling, Ceylon or Assam.
Milk, Milk, Milk
This recipe is best used with whole milk, although you can substitute the milk with water, I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s something about boiling the spices in milk that brings out more of the flavor. Just don’t use skim milk, as it doesn’t have enough fat to pull out the flavors. If you don’t want to use cow’s milk, I recommend using unsweetened coconut milk. This will also go well with the spices.
View this post on Instagram
Now, here’s the recipe!
- 4.5 cups Cow's whole milk or unsweetened coconut milk. Whole milk contains the necessary fats to pull out the spice flavors!
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Honey. You can always add more honey later if it's not sweet enough for you
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole pieces of star anise
- 1 thumb length ginger root sliced
- 16 cloves, whole
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. If you can get fresh nutmeg and grate it, it's even better!
- 16 cardamom pods slightly crushed
- 20 black peppercorns, whole
- 7 allspice, whole
- 8 heaping tablespoons loose leaf black tea
Slice your ginger into small rounds. Slightly crush your cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle.
In a saucepan, add your milk, honey and spices and heat it to a boil. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent the milk and spices from burning to the bottom of your saucepan.
Let boil for 15 minutes. Then, add your tea leaves and boil for another 5 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and let the mixture steep another 5 minutes. Don't keep the tea leaves in there for too long, otherwise, you risk getting a bitter flavor from the over-steeped black tea.
Strain the spices and tea leaves from the mixture by pouring through a sieve.
Cool the concentrate and store for up to a week.
To serve your Chai latte, mix the concentrate and milk in a 1:1 ratio. Add 1 star anise and cinnamon stick to dress it up.