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Served hot or cold, spiced Chai tea has become quite popular in much of the world. In fact, spiced chai latte is the one drink I enjoy most from Starbucks. It is my go to drink there when I visit.
I am a giant tea lover. But, if you know me at all then you also know that I don’t like to waste money. So, we do a lot of things with a frugal eye. That’s why I thought I’d figure out how to make an easy spiced chai tea recipe. I mean saving money on daily coffees and teas is an easy way to keep more of my own money.
For many English speakers “chai” refers to a fragrant, spiced, brewed tea drink. It originates on the Indian subcontinent where it is called masala chai — however, simply saying “chai” would generically refer to “tea” in India.
Spiced chai is generally served with milk and some type of sweetener, traditionally hot though it may also be found in a chilled form. Sometimes the terms “chai latte” or “chai tea latte” are used in some coffee or tea houses. The milk might be dairy or soy; the sweetener can be honey, sugar, or some other. Sometimes chocolate milk is used instead of plain, and the beverage may be therefore referred to as a “chocolate chai latte.”
The tea used is made from the fermented leaves of Camellia sinensis, the usual plant used to brew tea, typically a strong “black tea” as enjoyed throughout much of the world for centuries. Herbal teas may also be used in place of black tea, though this is less common.
Typical preparation of spice chai in India and throughout South Asia is to boil the spices in a mixture of milk and water, then steeping the tea in that hot mixture once the boiling is finished.
The spices used below are typical of many types of chai, but others are used in different parts of the world. Feel free to experiment with both the type and quantity of the spices. There are many methods and techniques that can be used; the focus here is an easy recipe that can be made in most home kitchens. The only “unusual” piece of equipment that is needed is either a spice/coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle.
The below recipe will make a spiced tea concentrate without the milk, allowing it to be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.
Enjoy this spiced chai tea recipe at home
Spiced chai tea latte
- 1 tsp black peppercorns, whole
- 1 inch fresh ginger root
- 4 pods cardamom
- 5 inches cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 4 cups water
- 8 black tea bags
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- dairy or soy milk
- Combine the first five ingredients in a spice grinder or mortar with pestle and crush or roughly and briefly chop them.
- Add them to the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil; cover and lower the heat, simmering for 10 minutes. (This step may also be done in the microwave oven.)
- Remove from the heat. Add the teabags, cover again and allow to steep without added heat for 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture, discarding the solids and the teabags.
- Add the honey and vanilla to the concentrate.
- To serve, dilute with an equal amount of milk and heat as desired on stove top or in microwave. May be diluted more or less according to preference.
Homemade Chai Tea
Spiced chai tea latte is spectacular in the fall, isn’t it?
Of course if you’d rather do the simple option here are some tea varieties I like too.