Skip the steep prices at the coffee shop by making your own flavorful tea at home.
Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea,” but baristas and commercial tea blenders use the term to refer specifically to a fragrant brew of black tea, milk, and various spices. This Indian-inspired beverage is actually masala chai (meaning “spicy tea”).
Whatever you call it, you can save time and money by making it at home — tweaking the spices based on your personal taste and the ingredients you have on hand. This method will produce about a quart of chai concentrate, which you can enjoy hot or iced with your favorite milk or dairy-free alternative.
- One 3-in. piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tbs. green cardamom pods
- 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 5 pieces whole star anise
- 10 allspice berries
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 6 cups water
- 5 tbs. loose-leaf black tea (or rooibos for a decaf version)
- 1 tbs. vanilla extract
- 2 tbs. honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Whole milk or nondairy alternative
1. Using the bottom of a skillet or the back of a wooden spoon, lightly crack the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and allspice berries.
2. Combine water and spices in a medium pot and bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
3. Remove pot from heat, add tea, and let steep for 10 minutes.
4. Strain the liquid with a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in vanilla and preferred sweetener.
5. Store your concentrate in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Mix 1:1 with your milk of choice and heat in a small saucepan to desired temperature. Or combine two parts chai with one part milk and enjoy over ice.