I LOVE chai tea, and have for a long time. When it’s approaching cold out my love just multiplies, and now it is prime chai drinking time. I step into snob territory when I order it out, usually snubbing the store-bought syrups (waaay too sweet). One of my favorite places to order it in LA is Antigua Coffee House, a neighborhood stop that makes it’s own tea blend and steeps it fresh.
But nothing is better than making your own. For no good reason I haven’t made real chai for a while, and I finally went by Spice Station and picked up their Masala Chai mix. You can easily make your own– they just blend whole green cardamom pods, black peppercorns, crushed dried ginger, crushed cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. This recipe is a good place to start if you’re buying your spices separate.
Below is how I prepared it based on my taste. It’s easy to tweak based on your chai preferences, and you can store it in your fridge so that you can have a homemade chai at a moment’s notice.
Homemade Chai Tea
Makes 6 cups
2/3-3/4 oz whole spice Masala chai mix (see above)
4 slices of fresh ginger
6 cups water
6 black tea bags or equivalent loose-leaf tea
1/4 cup raw sugar (or less)
milk or non-dairy substitute
Place spices (except fresh ginger) and water in a medium to large pot. Bring to a boil, decrease heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add ginger when there’s 5 minutes left. Turn off heat and add tea bags and sugar (use less or more depending on how sweet you like it). Stir and let steep for 7 minutes.
Remove tea bags. Stir again to make sure the sugar has dissolved. If you are drinking it right away, add about 2 cups of milk– start with less and add more based on color and taste. Re-heat, and then strain as you pour into each cup.
I like to make a whole batch and store it in a bottle to be doled out over the next week or two (if it lasts that long). Just leave out the milk and carefully strain your brew into an airtight bottle or container. It will keep for a couple of weeks. When you’re ready to drink, just use your mug to measure– full it to 2/3 full for each cup you want to heat up. Add milk and heat up on the stove or in the microwave.