I don’t have a coffee habit. In fact, I don’t even like it. Which, I suppose, is good for me, given the relative cost of feeding a daily Starbucks-addiction.
Instead of coffee, my tastes run towards tea. And lately, as the Fall weather has turned gray and cool, I’ve turned towards the friendly spices of a chai tea latte. Unfortunately, the cost of a chai tea latte can rival the cost of any quadruple-hyphenated drink at the coffee shop. And sometimes, the drink isn’t even that good.
One solution is the packaged chai mixes found in the grocery store. The mixes are pretty good and will make about eight cups of chai, depending on what kind of milk to chai ratio suits your tastes. I’ve found the mixes in almost every large grocery store.
Another solution, a better solution, is to simply make your own. After searching the Internet for recipes, I found two contenders. Unfortunately, the first recipe was a complete and total disaster; the concentrate was too bitter and too sweet — a combination of having too much sugar and too much tea in a recipe with too little water.
The second effort, though, was rewardingly delicious. The cinnamon sticks and crushed cardamom produced an inviting aroma, particularly when paired with the fresh cloves and whole ginger. The seeped Lady Grey tea — a personal favorite — was the finishing touch.
After making the concentrate, I quickly combined a cup of the concentrate with a cup of milk, and reheated the combination for the perfect Chai Tea Latte!
Recipe adapted from LiterariTea.
PREP TIME: 2 minutes
COOK TIME: 5 minutes
YIELD: Makes Four Cups of Concentrate
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 quart cold water
4 bags of Lady Grey Tea (or any other black tea)
2 large (or 4 small) cinnamon sticks
12 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Combine the water, teabags, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cardamom pods, and cloves in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for five minutes. Strain the concentrate into a mixing bowl, and stir in the vanilla and sugar.
2. To store for future use, pour the mixture into a container and refrigerate. To make a hot chai tea latte, combine 1 cup of concentrate and 1 cup of milk, and heat as desired! Top with whipped cream and chocolate or cinnamon sprinkles for a particularly warm and welcoming treat!