I have this thing with chai tea, and specifically chai tea concentrate.
A bit of a love affair, you might call it.
Sure, I looove the traditional iced chai tea latte. And yeah, I drink it warm…a lot…once the weather cools down.
But that’s just the beginning. I put that shit in everything.
Needless to say, chai tea concentrate and I are no strangers. And there are some pretty good ones that can be found in the grocery store. But I have a really hard time finding ones that are not suuuper sweet.
Like, way too sweet.
And sometimes, I enjoy that. But other times it’s just not how I want to start my day. So I tried making my own, and it was pretty easy! And really easy to customize, both in terms of sweetness and flavor.
If you like your chai with a lot of cinnamon, add extra cinnamon sticks. Not into licorice flavor? Nix the anise seeds. Start with this recipe and play around with it to get your favorite mix!
Then go make a Banana Chai Smoothie. Trust me.
CHAI TEA CONCENTRATE
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
2 inches Ginger root
3 cinnamon sticks
10 allspice berries
1/2 tsp. peppercorns
6 green cardamom pods
1/8 tsp. whole anise seeds
4 cups water
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
5 black tea bags
1-2 tbsp. sugar (optional)
Use a spoon to peel the skin from the ginger root. Thinly slice and set aside. Use the side of a knife to gently crack the green cardamom pods and set aside.
Add 4 cups of water to a medium sauce pot and place over medium-high heat, covered. Once the water comes to a boil, add the sliced ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, peppercorns, cracked cardamom pods, and anise seeds. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
After 20 minutes, remove the pot from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the tea bags and place the cover back on the pot. Let the tea bags steep for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth 1-3 times, until it is free of as much grit as possible. Stir in the sugar as desired.
Serve warm or cold with equal parts milk. Refrigerate in an air-tight container.