Chai Tea

The first time I can remember drinking tea, I was in my late teens and my boss Ettore’ suggested that I drink tea. I was desperate to try anything and was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed the tea. Even more surprising was that I like tea “black” – no sugar or milk necessary. So, I never considered a tea drink made with milk, until I had my first taste of chai tea from a mix by Tastefully Simple. Then, one of my friends told me that when she feels like the cooler weather is getting the best of her, her husband often brings her home a Starbucks Chai Latte. I am not a coffee/tea connoisseur by any means – but I do love sweets and have a penchant for pretty much any “foo-foo” drink; what prevents me from over-indulging is the mere fact that I simply do not have a never-ending supply of $5 bills at my disposal. I was pretty excited when I discovered that Trader Joe’s sold a Spiced Chai Tea mix and was somewhat content with that until something better came along; a “mix” just isn’t quite as good as freshly brewed.

Chai Spices do for tea, what Spiced Pumpkin Creamer does for coffee ~ it’s like drinking a cup of all the things that make Fall yummy; liquid comfort food in the form of a drink. You can enjoy it while relaxing by the fire; except, if you’re like me, driving in the car to work or dropping kids at school, sports etc. imagining yourself sitting in coffee shop with a friend. If you’ve never tried Chai Tea, I suggest that you give it a try. It’s a creamy blend of spices that tastes yummy, warms your tummy and feels oh-so-good along the way. Chai Tea Lattes have become one of my favorite fall/winter drinks…. and thanks to my friend Laura when I’m feeling a little under-the-weather it is also my go-to drink.  It’s also one of those drinks that I never thought to make myself. Which I’m realizing is really silly, because if something is available for sale then obviously somebody, somewhere had to make it; I just need to get over my fear of failure. Although, I do admit it can be frustrating losing time & money when a recipe “fails”. This recipe is definitely “no-fail”!!

Another concern is that I purchased a few (whole) spices for this recipe. Since I planned to blog about it, I decided to go for it. Therefore, there will be more posts about how to store spices, where I found my spices, and of course, more recipes using these wonderful new additions to my baking cabinet. For example, I had many of the spices shown, but they were already ground up & bottled. In the past I had either rarely or never used spices in their whole forms. So, if you have the same spice, but in a different form, i.e, ground in a bottle – I say use it! Keep in mind that the best part of making your own is that you can eliminate any spice and still end up with Chai Tea; in other words, use what you have and have fun experimenting.


Spiced Chai Tea Concentrate {makes 12-16 1 cup servings}


  • 6-8 c Water (I used 6-8 would be good for a party, depending on the # of guests)
  • 3 sticks Cinnamon
  • 3 slices Ginger
  • 7 whole Cardamom Pods
  • 2 whole Star Anise Pods
  • 10 whole Cloves
  • 1 Vanilla Bean (sliced, scraped, then add the pod to pack) – or 1 Tbl vanilla
  • ⅔ c Dark Brown Sugar (optional – adds a hint of extra sweetness)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest
  • ½ teaspoons Freshly-ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  •  10 Tea Bags (I used Green Tea, but black or any tea you prefer would work – although a “mint” tea might be weird, but Orange Tea would be perfect)

Additional ingredient needed to make the latte part:

  • whole milk (or half & half)

Fill a 6 qt. slow-cooker, with the water. Set to “high” and allow the water to hear while you assemble/add the spices/tea; not the milk. I used cheese-cloth to hold all the spices, but you can certainly just put everything in the pot. I used 6 cups of water because that was what I needed to cover my “spice-pod” and I wanted a strong tea base, since I knew I would be adding milk. Allow to steep for 2 1/2 hours. I stirred a few times, squeezing the spice bag with a pair of tongs.

The advantage to using the cheese cloth is that it made straining a bit easier, but I still strained it, to catch any pieces that escaped.

To Serve: Add 1 part concentrate to 1 part milk, heat and enjoy. For an iced version, pour the milk and Chai Tea Concentrate over ice. (This can be served directly from the slow-cooker, simply ladle into cups filled with “steamed/warmed” milk.)

Stove-top Option: Heat water until boiling. Remove from heat, add spices – reserving the brown sugar, honey (and vanilla if using the extract) until after steeping, cover, and allow to steep for 15-20 minutes. – Add reserved ingredients and following serving directions.

Flavor Option: Add to hot chocolate made with milk.

To Store: Place in a clean glass container (I know, duh – but you don’t want bacteria growing) and store in the refrigerator for a few days. I am not an expert on bacteria, but I would certainly not go over a week.

printed from:


Source: selection of ingredients used from thecatnipcat posted in The Tasty Kitchen

Need a milk-frother?… at the time of this post Ikea is selling this one for a few bucks.





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