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.
Make homemade chai tea with this delicious and simple chai tea concentrate recipe.
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.
Thanks for the great recipe! Such lovely flavors and the spiciness from the ginger is great. I personally love a really spicy Chai so I may up the ginger and cinnamon in the feature, but it’s already quite good as is.
I would like to make this recipe but the 5 star anise is not readily available. How important is it to make it?
I have made it with and without star anise because my sister simply hates anything with any kind of anise flavor and both came out fantastic. It’s a loose recipe I think, like everything with spices, you can omit one, double another, to your taste.
i personally have forgotten the star anise and didn’t notice much difference. however you should be able to find it at your local asian market.
Check the ethnic aisles-not the main spice aisle. Even in small town WY I found it with the Mexican packet spices. A $0.99 packet made 3 or 4 batches.
Finally a real recipe with real ingredients! If I was going to read one more ad-based “recipe” that had “Brand Whatever Chai concentrate” in the ingredients list, I may literally have busted.
Thanks for doing it from scratch and keeping it real.
It is the best I tried it and it is amazing. It is like I am in love with the chai tea. I love it so much.
So easy and SO good! Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you for this I love it.
I’ve made this recipe several times now. I like the spice taste and not too sweet. When I buy store bought like Tazo or Oregon it does not satisfy anymore. I make 3 batches at a time and boils for 20 minutes. I do agree leaving it overnight after it is done makes it stronger tea. Highly recommend.
I have been on a search for the best chai tea with no avail! Came across this concentrate and bingo! Taste exactly like Starbucks! I change a few things! I used decaf black tea, almond milk instead of whole milk, coconut sugar instead of brown sugar and I added agave (1 tbs) when I mixed milk with chai concentrate!
AMAZING! Better than Starbucks. Better than boxed Tazo concentrate. Please make this, you will not regret it.
Soooo good with oat milk! I leave out the anise & vanilla, add a dash of cayenne (we like it spicy), and use monkfruit to sweeten. Perfection! And healthy too!
Just a quick question: how much of the concentrate should we end with? The recipe says 4 cups of concentrate, but I only got 3/4 of a cup… Not sure where or what went wrong, but any help would be greatly appreciated! :) Thanks!
Made this chai tea today with all the ingredients. Very nice with milk or iced I would recommend this to anyone. I added some turmeric for a bit more color but it did not change the color much Love it
How do you get only ¾ off a cup when one of the ingredients is for cups of water?
Thank you so much for this recipe! We love it! With the family working from home now and stopping by the house frequently, I make multiple batches EVERY week. We love chai, and this is so delicious and convenient. I use the excuse that I am saving my children money at the coffee shops while I pour myself another latte…
To Bethany, if you started with 4 cups of water, and you simmer it for 15 minutes with a lid on, you should end up with 4 cups of concentrate. If you boil it for a long time uncovered, it may reduce a lot, and that might be how you ended up with 3/4 cup.
I’ve made this recipe about 20 times and I love it! I substitute vanilla extract for vanilla bean. You can adjust the spices to your liking after you make it a couple of times.
I’m curious, what other type of tea can replace black tea?
I know this is old, but I use Darjeeling in mine. It’s still a black tea, but lighter in flavour so the sources can really shine. I’ve used green tea, white tea, and decaf black tea before as well. I just don’t steep the green or white tea as long, to avoid bitterness.
How much water do you use to make concentrate?
FYI Chai means tea, so you are saying teatea when you say chai tea :)
Amazing!!! Absolutely loved it. I added more sugar t0 my drink and it was better than Starbucks chai and I’m addicted to it.
I’ve made this recipe twice, once as written, and once adjusted to my tastes. As written, the recipe is on the weaker side (compared to Starbucks & Panera). I prefer my chai tea strong and spice, so I doubled all ingredient amounts but kept the water at 4 cups; I omitted the nutmeg and all spice. I crushed/crumbled all the spices, simmered them for 30 minutes (covered) before adding the tea bags and steeping for 5 minutes. I noticed that many reviewers had trouble finding star anise. These can be found on Amazon at a fair price, but if you’re in a pinch, substitute 1 tsp of lightly crushed fennel seeds per 1 star anise (they have similar anise flavor profiles). Lastly, if you prefer a stronger chai tea but without the “bite,” keep the black pepper corns to four and don’t crush them.
I use this recipe all the time.
The concentrate keeps me healthy over the winter months. It lasts a little longer than a week for me in the fridge.
I love this recipe. Really easy. I didn’t use anise or allspice. This will be my homemade recipe. Thanks
Best chai recipe thus far. I have been to only one coffee shop that has been able to satisfy my chai needs. I doubled the spices, simmered for double the time, and then left overnight. I love a very strong chai taste and this is perfect.
Thank you for this simple and delicious recipe. I have been making homemade chai for a long time and periodically I like to check out what other people are doing. A couple of comments. I buy cinnamon in bulk, and it comes either in 4 or 6 in sticks. So if you have 6-inch sticks you won’t need quite as many cinnamon sticks. If you are a bad cook like me, by which I mean I always forget I have tea simmering on the stove, You may wish to add the cloves last. Over simmering cloves can bring out a very bitter flavor. I am following your recipe otherwise exactly this time, although sometimes I make ginger tea separately, and keep some around. When I have had too much caffeine, I’m a have ginger tea in the afternoon. Also, same recipe but add some fresh or dried Tulsi leaves if you have a cold. Ayurvedic medicine gives all kinds of kudos to the healing power of Tulsi. I don’t know if it really helps, but it’s a delicious twist on masala!
Can I use an herbal/ caffeine free tea?
Delicious! I’m hoping it last longer than a week in the fridge. I stored my chai in the same type of container that I use for my home brew kombucha and didn’t realize I still had a bottle of chai tucked in near my kombucha. I made it on Christmas Eve, and it’s now January 5th. I’m having some right now:)
YUM! I’ve made it twice now and it’s been a hit! The second time I made it I backed down on the cinnamon a little, maybe my sticks were of the larger variety but it felt too strong – my lips and tongue were numb. :) highly recommend!
If was curious if anyone knew the calories in the concentrate?
Such a wonderful recipe! This is exactly what I was hoping to find. Thank you so much for posting!
Also, I used about a large teaspoon of powdered cinnamon since I didn’t have the cinnamon sticks, and also used a teaspoon of vanilla extract since I didn’t have the vanilla bean. It still turned out soooo good.
Just made this and I’m so happy :)
Can you freeze the concentrate?
Love this recipe. Wanted something without a lot of sugar but plenty of flavor and this was it. Been making this for over a year and I am hooked. I like quite a bite of ginger so add 1 Tbsp of KOR liquid ginger when I heat that Chai liquid and froth 1/2 oat milk and 1/2 almond milk. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!
The recipe doesn’t say how much water to boil everything in which I feel is important for a concentrate recipe that you mix with more water. How much did everyone else use?
Does it matter what color cardamom I use?
Have your tried to can this? I assume it would be a pressure canning project since it’s probably low acidity…. Maybe I could process it for the same time as bone broth? I wonder if it would lose flavour.
Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
I absolutely LOVE this recipe! It has become my go to on chilly days.
Sounds expensive to make.
I count 5 ingredients Kroger, Walmart or Aldi probably won’t carry.
I like you, can’t handle Starbucks sweetness.
Found a locally owned shop much better.
Their price just went from $3.65 to 4.65 smallest size. They used a liquid concentration also,which is probably more costly than powder.
Miss it and hate not supporting local.