Chai, pronounced with a long “i” as in the word tie, is the actual word for tea in many countries. It is also called masala chai (Masala meaning “spiced”). It is a centuries-old beverage from India which is basically black tea brewed with selected spices and milk. The spices vary from recipe to recipe, but is traditionally consumed hot and sweet. Play with the flavors and make this tea your own! This is a great alternative to coffee.
This is my personal mix for chai masala tea, otherwise known as chai tea. I’m a confirmed chai whore, and every time I make a batch of tea, it is a little different, preserving the delight in the tea. You’ll soon discover that your personal mix of spices will evolve to match your tastes. I happen to be partial to the more ‘Christmasy’ spices like cinnamon and cloves. Others like a sharper taste, and add more cardamom.
- 2 cups water
- 3 black tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose organic black tea (I use black tea or oolong)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 whole green cardamom pods, crushed or about 1/4 teaspoon seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- Dash nutmeg
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
- 1 (6-inch) piece vanilla bean (cut up into 1-inch pieces) or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 black peppercorns
- heavy cream or almond milk
- stevia to taste (try a flavored stevia! click here to order)
* Decaffeinated tea leaves can also be used, but increase the amount of tea by either 1 teaspoon loose tea or 1 tea bag to make up for the loss in flavor.
In a large saucepan, add the water, tea or tea bags, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla bean and peppercorns. Bring just to a boil; then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for approximately 5 minutes depending on how strong a spice flavor you want. Strain mixture through strainer or coffee filters; press on the spices and tea with a spoon to extract all the fragrant liquids. Sweeten to taste and add cream or almond milk.
NOTE: Many people make the tea base ahead of time, just increase the amounts of spices
Serve hot or in a tall glass filled with ice.
Store unused portion in the refrigerator.
Makes 3 cups.