Homemade chai

I drink black tea every single morning. (I just can’t stand the taste of coffee!) I like to buy the Twinings boxes of loose tea because it’s pretty good, I can make it as strong as I like (very!), it’s the best price, and I can reuse the little tins afterwards. But those tins are only offered in our supermarket in two basic flavors, and  simple black tea over and over again can get pretty boring. I like crazy flavors every once in a while to mix stuff up – but I’m not willing to pay $4 for 20 tea bags when I use two at a time every day.

So I decided to see if I could make my own chai.

I looked up the ingredients, and the recipes all agreed on the basics – cloves, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg. Some mentioned peppercorns, one mentioned a bay leaf, and I liked the idea of vanilla. I used everything.

I ran into some problems.

First, I don’t have many whole spices so I had to use powders. Then I was out of nutmeg so I had to use “Apple Pie Spice” (a combo of two cinnamons and nutmeg). The fresh ginger stumped me too – all the recipes called for fresh ginger specifically and said powdered wouldn’t work. But I wanted to store this for a while – and fresh ginger would mold. And maybe even rust the metal tea tin I wanted to store it in! Then I remembered there was crystallized ginger in the freezer – perfect. It would add fresh-ginger taste without any moisture problems.

Results: pretty darn good for a first try! No problems with graininess etc. from the powdered spices, but then I use a fairly fine tea strainer (from Bodum). The bay leaf was frankly weird though, and will be omitted next time. I might skip the vanilla too because the taste clashed, and I’ll up the ginger and pepper because it was too mild overall.

Here’s what my recipe will look like next time:

10-12 whole cloves, 3/4 tsp very-coarse-ground pepper, 2 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger, 3/4 tsp apple pie spice, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, 1/3 cup black tea. Renders about 5-6 cups’ worth depending on how much tea you put in your strainer.

One Response to “Homemade chai”

  1. Heidi Says:

    sounds good. even if I don’t like chai much. Doesn’t chai take milk?

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