The cravings started earlier than normal this year…
I’m blaming it on our cooler-than-normal summer, and our early snow (YES, it snowed two weeks ago… *facepalm*), but I’m already hankering for sweaters, and fires in the stove, and chai tea.
Especially the chai.
I’m kind of a picky chai drinker… The chai tea bags you can grab in the tea aisle don’t quite cut it for me. And the pre-made concentrates are often filled with junk ingredients… So what’s a chai-aholic to do?
Make it herself, of course!
I tried a bunch of different chai recipes before I tweaked it enough to finally come up with this one. You’ll find it’s pleasantly sweet and spicy, yet not overpowering. You can absolutely adjust the level of sweetener, so feel free to adjust it as necessary to fit your tastes.
It’s pretty much autumn in a cup. Oh yeah…
How to Make Chai Tea
Yield: Approximately one quart of chai concentrate
You Will Need:
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- 6 cups water
- 1/3 cup sucanat, or rapadura, or natural sweetener of your choice (where to buy)
- 2-3″ fresh ginger, sliced
- 5 cinnamon sticks (where to buy)
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns (where to buy)
- 2 vanilla beans (where to buy)
- 3 star anise (where to buy)
- 15 cloves (where to buy)
- 5 allspice (optional) (where to buy)
- 2 teaspoons cardamom seeds (where to buy)
- 5 black tea bags
- Milk of your choice (both dairy and non-dairy milks will work– my favorite is whole, raw cow milk)
In a medium pot, bring the water and sweetener to a boil and simmer until the sweetener is fully dissolved.
Add all of the spices, and continue to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat, add the tea bags, and let them steep for 10 minutes.
Strain out the spices and tea bags and store your chai concentrate in the fridge (it will last for several weeks–but I doubt it’ll be around that long!)
Mix the chai concentrate 1:1 with milk. Gently heat in a small saucepan until it reaches the desired temperature. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy. 🙂
- I used sucanat, an unrefined cane sugar, (where to buy) in my chai tea concentrate. However, this recipe is super flexible, so feel free to play around with other ingredients. Honey will work too, although I would suggest starting off with a lesser amount to avoid overpowering the mixture.
- If you like your chai less sweet, I would start off with 1/4 cup of sweetener instead of 1/3 cup.
- I love using whole spices in this mix, but if you can’t find the whole versions, it’s generally easy to substitute the ground/powdered versions as well. If you aren’t sure about the conversion rate, try googling it (for example: “conversion rate of fresh ginger to powered ginger”)
- To save yourself the step of straining out the spices, you can place them in a small muslin bag to let them simmer instead.
- If you are feeling especially decadent, try adding a bit of cream or half-and-half in place of the milk. Ohhhhh boy…
- Missing one of these ingredients? It’s OK! This recipe lends itself well to tweaking and adjusting.
- Yeah, I know the “cinnamon sticks” in the pictures aren’t really “true” cinnamon. I just had a big bag of them I needed to use up.
So, bring it fall! I have my sweaters and this chai recipe, and I’m ready. 😉
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