I admit it. I am a coffee-drinker. In the morning, I’d prefer coffee over tea almost 98.99% of the time. However, I also love a good cup of chai. Chai simply translates to tea. Most folks use the word tea to describe any typical tea, so chai is often used to describe masala chai. Masala chai literally translates to spiced tea, and is often a blend of black tea, ginger, cardamom, and other spices.
There are some great chai concentrates and ready-made batches of chai available. Dragonfly Chai is one of my favorites. Also, Oregon Chai and Tazo Tea have some decent products available. Honestly though, making chai at home is easy, affordable, and fun. Plus, when you’ve got a pot brewing, it makes your whole home smell deliriously, aromatically, amazing!
Homemade Chai Tea
5 – 7 cinnamon sticks (I prefer ceylon cinnamon, as it’s sweeter and milder than cassia)
3 – 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
15 – 20 whole cloves
15 – 20 whole green cardamom pods
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. anise seeds (I’ve also used star anise, which is different… but just as tasty in this recipe)
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. white peppercorns
3 – 4 tbsp. loose black tea * see note
6 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split down the center (optional)
¼ cup honey
* Note: There are numerous options for the type of black tea you use. I’ve found that most darjeeling teas work great. As does rooibos, green tea, maté. The only tea I’ve used which came out terribly and will never be used again for this recipe is keemun black tea. It’s delicious when consumed plain, but overly bitter when blended with the spices in this recipe.
In a large pot over high heat, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover the pot and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the honey and vanilla bean. Remove from heat and let the tea stand (covered) for at least another 15 minutes (the longer it sits, the stronger the flavor; generally I let my stand for an hour). Strain the chai.
When serving, you can add as much milk as you prefer. I often use 3 parts tea to 1 part milk. Also, you can add more honey or sugar to your liking.
Makes approximately 48 oz.