The first time I ever tried chai tea was in the home of a friend who served it after dinner as dessert. She made it in a teapot with lots of honey, ginger, spices, warm milk and freshly grated nutmeg. We drank it sitting by her fireplace. I remember feeling so cozy that I didn’t want to leave.
After that evening, I scoured the web to find a recipe to recreate that chai tea. What I realized is that chai is a mix of spices, steeped in black tea with honey and milk. All the recipes sounded delicious but complicated to make.
I finally hit on a combination of spices combined with loose Assom OP or Ceylon tea that I can make ahead of time and then brew easily in individual cups or a teapot. I purchase spices and loose tea in bulk at The Head Nut, which helps to keep the cost down.
4 c. Assom OP or Ceylon loose tea
1 tbsp. green cardamom pods
1 tbsp. cloves
1 tbsp. black pepper corns
1 tbsp. anise seed
1 tbsp. star anise (broken into pieces)
1 tbsp. candied ginger, minced
1 tsp. cinnamon stick, pounded into very small bits
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Mix all ingredients together and store in a dark container.
Fill a tea ball ½ full of the mixture and place in a mug.
To the mug, add one tsp. local honey (with bee pollen) and fill with simmering water.
Let steep for 5 minutes then remove tea ball.
Add milk and serve.
A cup always transports me back to that cozy fireplace. I hope you get that same relaxed feeling from this rich and spicy tea.