My daughter Anne loves chai tea. I’ve tried it a few times at my favorite coffee shop. Though I love it’s spicy, mellow flavors, most chai teas are too sweet for my taste. But when USA Weekend Magazine (Jan. 20-22 edition) published Pam Anderson’s recipe for chai tea concentrate, I decided to give it a try.
The biggest challenge presented by the recipe was finding all the spices. Thankfully, we have a bulk food store nearby, and I was able to find everything there. (Did you know cardamom costs $70+ a pound? Thankfully, they sell it by the ounce!) Other than gathering the ingredients, this recipe was easy to follow.
Compared to the cost of specialty drinks at the coffee shop, this recipe is a bargain, even with the price of cardamom. Not only that, Hiram gave the hot chai drink his coveted seal of approval. The ingredient list for the recipe below matches the original one exactly. But, I added more details to some of the directions.
DYI Chai Tea Concentrate
4 teaspoons each ground ginger and cinnamon
4 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground (I ground them in a coffee grinder)
2 teaspoons each ground black pepper, cardamom and corriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup loose black tea such as Earl Grey
3/4 cup blue agave
2 tablespoons molasses
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Heat spices in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and smoke starts to rise, a couple of minutes. (This sounds so weird, but it works!) Add 1 quart of water and tea; bring to a simmer.
Remove from heat, cover and let steep for about 10 minutes. Strain out tea and spices. (I strained out the tea and ground spices by lining the strainer with a cloth.) Stir in agave, molasses, vanilla, and lemon juice.
To serve, combine 1/4 cup concentrate with either 3/4 cup hot or cold milk or water. The rest can be covered and refrigerated up to a couple weeks until ready to use. (The photo shows the concentrate in the background and a cup of tea made with 1/4 cup concentrate and a 3/4 cup mixture of equal amounts of water and milk.)