Homemade Chai Tea (Hot, Iced, and Concentrate)
As you are reading this post today, I am happy to be snuggled up with a warm blanket at a blogging retreat in Park City, Utah. There is snow falling outside our door, good blogging friends are near, and I am happy to be nestling in for some much needed R&R.
I don’t know about you, but it seems like fall has gotten off to a busy start. Busy, busy, busy. Always a little more busy than I’d like. Always trying to work on that. I embarrassingly didn’t even realize that the leaves were changing in Kansas City until I saw it on Instagram!!
Still, the transition into fall is one of my absolute favorite times of the year, and I have been trying to take small moments during the day to pause and soak it up. I’ve learned that one of the small habits that seems to always help with this is to cozy up with a warm drink first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. There’s something about holding a steaming hot mug and then taking slow, thoughtful sips that is the essence of comfort and calm.
So today, I thought I would share with you a recipe for one of my favorite comfort drinks — homemade chai tea.
I first learned to love chai back in the day at — you guessed it — Starbucks. I instantly got hooked on the drink and all of those delicious spices, and began stopping by to order an iced chai almost every day for work. Then the $4 daily expense got a little ridiculous. So I learned to buy Tazo chai concentrate at the grocery store. Then (bonus!) I learned that it was sold even cheaper at Costco!
But after years of buying those mega 3-packs of concentrate, I began to get tired of the uber-sweetness of that brand of chai. I loved the spices, but the sugar was too much. So I finally learned how to make homemade chai.
And friends — it is so easy!!!
My version is all based around making a chai concentrate so that you can refrigerate it and keep it around for multiple batches. All you need are a handful of spices and seasonings and about 20 minutes, and then you’ll have plenty of concentrate ready to make as much hot chai or iced chai as you’d like.
But the best part is that you can totally tweak the recipe according to your taste. If you really love the sweetness of the chai you get at Starbucks, by all means, add in more sugar and/or honey. If you like yours really peppery, add in more peppercorns. If you like yours really strong or really weak, that’s the joy of concentrate — you can control exactly how much flavor you get. Bottom line, everyone has their own preferences with chai, so with a homemade recipe you can make it your own!
With the holidays coming up, I’ll also add in that this is a perfect comfort food gift to jar up and give to your chai-loving friends.
Hope you enjoy!
Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate
- 12 cardamom pods, gently crushed
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 8 whole cloves
- 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 4 cups water
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole allspice (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar (more or less to taste)
- 2 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 black tea bags
Bring all ingredients except tea bags together to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tea bags and let steep for 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a strainer and reserve the liquid for concentrate, and let cool to room temperature.
Mix equal parts concentrate with water or milk to make chai tea. Or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.
To Make Hot Chai Tea:
Combine 1 part chai tea concentrate with 1 part water or milk (cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.), and stir to combine. Heat in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Or heat in the microwave until simmering.
To Make Iced Chai Tea:
1 part water or milk (cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.), and stir to combine. Serve over ice.