I grew up on Chai. Chai literally means “tea.” I always found it funny when people say “Chai tea.” It’s basically saying “tea tea.” That concludes the snarky language lesson portion of this evening.
If you don’t know, chai is basically black tea brewed with spices. It’s very very yummy. Once you have good chai, regular un-spiced tea tastes like cruel and unusual punishment.
I used get chai lattes from Starbucks (or as my grandma calls it: Starpack. I don’t know why.). Then I started getting the Tazo chai tea concentrate and now I’m full-on making the concentrate from scratch. Wish me luck!
You will need 6 cups of water, 1/4 cup of loose leaf black tea and the following spices:
What you see there is 3 cinnamon sticks (Obvi. Are people still saying obvi? I am.), 3 star anise, 15 cardamom pods, and a teaspoon each of whole cloves, allspice, black peppercorns, coriander seeds and fennel seeds.
I find that it’s worth it to invest in these whole spices because you can use them in so many ways in different cuisines (Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern etc.). If nothing else, these whole spices last years (yes, years, because they are whole and protected in their shells) so you can keep making batches of chai for a long time.
Anyhoo…. Preheat the oven to 350F and crush the cardamom pods to release the inner seeds.
Toast the spices in the oven for about 5 mins or until you can smell them. Keep an eye on them though because they can go from being perfectly toasty to being tragically burnt.
Once they are toasted they should look “a little something like this” (did you say that in a melodic way? I did. In my head.):
While the spices cool down, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat off and add the tea and spices.
Steep for a few minutes. Not too long or else the tea will become bitter. I usually taste it after 2 minutes to see how I like it.
Once the tea is as strong as you like, strain and sweeten it.
You can use honey or sugar or whatever cancerous artificial sweetener you like. I used coconut sugar because it’s supposed to be low on the Glycemic Index or whatever. Or because the jar was cute and colorful. I’m a sucker for packaging ok? I would buy dog shit if it was in a cute and colorful box.
So anyway, eheheh …eh , back to the chai. I usually sweeten it more than I would like it because it’s going to be diluted with milk. See, that’s me thinking ahead. *digitally patting myself on the back*
That’s it, you’re done! Plenty of chai lattes in your future!
Store the chai concentrate in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.
Serve with steamed milk and garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg. Or serve with cold milk over ice for an Iced Chai Latte. Or swirl in the concentrate into a batch of homemade ice-cream. Or pour hot concentrate over vanilla gelato for a twist on affogato (google it). OMG I want to make chai affogato right now! BYE!!!!