Recipe Test: Spiced Chai Concentrate

Is there anything more soothing than a warm drink on a cold, rainy day?  That's why I sat up and took notice when I found this recipe for Spiced Chai Concentrate at A Wooden Nest.  I always have enjoyed chai from Starbucks, and so I had no doubt I would enjoy making my own.

Spiced Chai Concentrate
makes about 1 liter

4 1/2 cups  water
1 stick  cinnamon
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger -- coarsely chopped
7 whole cardamom pods
2 whole star anise pods
10 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon  freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange zest
10 bags black tea
1/2 cup  brown sugar
1 tablespoon  honey
1 tablespoon  vanilla

Prepare the spices and the tea.  Set aside.  Bring the water to a boil, and remove from heat.  Add the spices and the tea bags, and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a 4-cup glass measuring cup or large bowl, discarding the spices.  Add the sugar, honey, and vanilla, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour the mixture into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

To serve, mix one part concentrate with one part milk.  Heat for a warm beverage or pour over ice to enjoy cold.

My notes about the recipe:  While whole cloves are easily found in your grocery store, whole cardamom pods and whole star anise pods are less readily available.  You can find them at specialty markets and they are often available in the bulk food section of your grocery store.  I'm fortunate to have a Penzey's Spices close by; but if you don't, you can order from them online or request a catalog from them.  They are an excellent company and I can highly recommend them (and it's just a lot of fun to snoop their store).

This would make a good Christmas gift as well.  I found liter-sized hermetically-sealed bottles at The Container Store that worked perfectly for this. 

I've tested this out on myself, but my plan is to make some for Mae for Christmas.  Even though it needs refrigeration, it could go unrefrigerated for a few hours without hurting it.

It is quite tasty, and I'm enjoying some as I write this post.  I warmed mine in the microwave.  It's like hot chocolate for grown-ups!

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

Brita said...

Thanks for the recipe! I loooove Chai tea. I wonder if there's an artificial sweetener brown sugar? Instead of milk, I use a light vanilla soy milk. Yummmmm.

Denise :) said...

Wow -- this sounds yummy! My Jocey made us Pumpkin Lattes today -- they were GREAT! But I love Chai, so I'm going to give this a try, defintely! :)

ElfRenee said...

Yum, sounds good!

quiltzyx said...

One more thing to try out one of these days! Thanks Barbara. ;^)

Snoodles said...

Hmmm, I think I'd better stick to my green tea with lemon - or maybe some Russian tea? I'm not sure which flavor it is, but Chai is not my cuppa! LOL I can identify every flavor you listed as ones that I like, except for cardamom and anise...what are they similar to? Maybe one of those is not familiar, and that is why my first chai experience was not so hot? Guess I should try again!

gayle said...

I have a similar chai recipe, but without the star anise. (I like licorice, but not in my tea...)
And you're absolutely right - hot chocolate for grownups sums it up perfectly!