I've been a chai tea lover for years and I've tried all the store bought concentrates which tend to be pricey and filled with sugar, not to mention they often lack the real spicy flavor I'm craving in a good chai. Despite being obsessed with hot drinks all year round the hot New England Summer has left me wanting something cool. I looked at a bunch of recipes for chai concentrate before concocting my own version which leaves out the controversial star anise. Let's face it, anise is a love it or hate it flavor and my hubby hates it so I left it out of this recipe. If you love it, skip to the bottom for *suggestions. This recipe makes about 6 cups (or 3 pint sized mason jars full) and can easily be halved, but why bother when it keeps in the fridge for several weeks or makes a great hostess gift for a summer soiree!
10 cups water
2 inches fresh ginger peeled
8 cinnamon sticks
16 tsp loose black tea
16 whole cloves
10 cardamom pods
24 black peppercorns
30 allspice berries
3/4 - 1 cup coconut sugar
muslin bag OR cheesecloth and cotton cord OR strainer
Put the 10 cups of water into a large pot and boil while you prep the ingredients for steeping the tea. I used a piece of cheesecloth folded over several times into a 8"x8" square to make a large teabag for this recipe but you could just add everything to the water and strain it with fine mesh when you're done.
Crack the peppercorns, allspice, cardamom and cloves with the back of a heavy knife and add them to the cheesecloth. Slice the vanillla bean lengthwise and use a knife tip to scrape out the seeds adding them to the cheesecloth. Add the loose tea to the cheesecloth and lift up the corners and twist to make a large tea bag, secure the sachet with cotton cording. Peel and rough chop the ginger and set it aside.
Once your water comes to a boil add the loose ginger, cinnamon sticks and the sachet with all other ingredients into the water and turn heat down to simmer uncovered for 20 min or until the liquid is reduced by 2 cups. Remove the sachet if using one and add your coconut sugar to taste, I used approx 3/4 cup. Stir to dissolve. Strain the remaining liquid and jar when cooled.
To use your concentrate:
I use 1/3 concentrate to 2/3 almond milk. It depends on how spicy you want your mixture. You could also do a 50/50 ratio.
- This is great cold OR hot!
- For a decaf version, use Rooibos loose tea instead of black
- Add a cinnamon stick to a hot version for a bit more spice
- Try it with coconut milk or soy milk!
- Add in 1 or 2 Star Anise (no need to crack these just toss them in)
- Add in 1-2 tsp cacao nibs for a chocolate chai!
- Make your own version of dirty chai with 1/3 coffee, 1/3 chai, 1/3 milk of choice
- Add seeds from a second vanilla bean for smoother/sweeter tones