There is nothing – and I do mean nothing – that compares with steeping whole spices and tea leaves to make an authentic pot of fragrant, spicy, sweet homemade chai.
I’ve enjoyed plenty of powdered chai in coffee shops and I’ve brewed my own a few times with chai-flavored teabags and mixes. I’m warning you now, once you’ve made real chai you will never be as happy with the other versions.
I heard about my brother-in-law’s homemade chai for a few years before it finally worked out for me to sample it at their house.
If you recall, this is the same sister and her husband who introduced me to Spanish Cafe con Leche after they visited Spain almost 15 years ago. When they tell me that something is delicious, I tend to believe them.
Now that I’ve had a chance to make Jason’s recipe for myself, it most certainly does not disappoint. I’ve been making this easy chai in doubled and tripled batches for years now and I love having a jar or two stashed in the fridge.
Served with a plate of Almond Bars, a steaming cup of chai (or an iced chai latte) becomes an afternoon snack that no one turns down.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:
- cardamom pods
- whole cloves
- cinnamon stick
- fresh ginger
- black peppercorns
- bay leaf
- loose black tea leaves
- half and half
- light brown sugar or honey
Place the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, peppercorns, and a bay leaf in a medium size saucepan.
Add the water and bring to a boil. Allow this to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes.
Add the tea leaves and return to a boil. (I like to use English Breakfast tea when making chai.) Reduce the heat and simmer on medium for 5 minutes.
Add the half and half and the sugar. Stir for about a minute, over low heat, until steaming.
Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a teapot, mugs, or glasses. Chai can be served warm or cold. It’s a refreshing treat when served icy cold and poured over ice.
Pour any remaining chai mixture into small jars to store in the refrigerator. Reheat or enjoy cold, as desired.
The recipe doubles perfectly and is a terrific way to make and keep several days worth of morning chai ready to drink with just a few minutes of warming on the stove or in the microwave.
This will make a terrific dirty chai with a shot of espresso in the morning. If you prefer coffee, try adding a generous splash of the chai mixture to your next cup.
Homemade Chai Latte
Wondering how to turn this chai recipe into a perfectly frothed warm or iced latte? It’s easy as pie. (Actually, it’s a whole lot easier than that, as there is no pie crust making involved here!)
Simply froth the milk or half and half before pouring it into the steeped chai concentrate. I have used this frother on a daily basis for almost ten years now when making my morning coffee and it works great for chai lattes too.
You can make Vanilla Coffee Syrup at home, using just a few common ingredients and no preservatives or artificial flavors. It takes less than 5 minutes to stir together the syrup and it tastes better than any store-bought options.
Servings: 2 servings
Prevent your screen from going dark
Place the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, peppercorns and bay leaf in a medium size saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil. Allow this to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes.
Add the tea leaves and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium for 5 minutes. Add the half and half and the sugar. Stir for about a minute, over low heat, until steaming. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a teapot or mugs.
Calories: 94kcal · Carbohydrates: 6g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 7g · Saturated Fat: 4g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g · Monounsaturated Fat: 2g · Cholesterol: 21mg · Sodium: 60mg · Potassium: 131mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 3g · Vitamin A: 222IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 103mg · Iron: 1mg
originally published 1/20/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 6/22/23