I am bumping a previously scheduled post to bring you this chai-riffic recipe on this cold and blustery day. If you haven’t had chai, which is what we Americans call spiced tea, you are in for a treat. This beverage has none of the bitterness of coffee, and more flavor than bagged teas. You can find powdered and prepared chai on some grocery shelves, and you can pay $5 per cup at your favorite coffee shop, but after trying this, you won’t want either of those.
Making one batch of this can save you time and money compared to stopping at your coffee shop.
I’ve spent the last several weeks adjusting this recipe to make a whole batch at a time. There’s just no getting around the fact that it has to be cooked, but by making a good sized batch, I have a cup ready to go each morning for a week.
- 4 cups water
- 12 oz can of evaporated milk
- ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ tsp anise seed
- 2 whole anise stars
- 1 Tbsp fresh diced ginger*
- ¼ tsp whole black peppercorns*
- ¼ tsp whole cloves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp real vanilla extract
- 2 tea bags
- In a medium saucepan, combine water, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and all spices.
- Bring to boil on medium heat.
- Reduce heat to simmer, add tea bags, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Before straining, squeeze tea bags a couple of times in the liquid.
- Strain the liquid through a fine wire strainer into a jug or jars with lids.
- Store for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Garnish with whipped cream if desired.
This recipe replaces sweet with spicy. I don't add any sugar or sweetener, and I prefer it to coffee and tea that I tend to load up with cream and sugar. You just don't need it here.
Just a few helpful hints as you are preparing this. I’ve already noted in the recipe that you should absolutely use fresh ginger and whole peppercorns, neither of which are part of my normal shopping list. Fresh ginger is in the produce aisle of most regular grocery stores, and you don’t need to peel it since it gets strained out; just finely dice it. Whole peppercorns are in a jar in the spice aisle. I’ve only used black pepper so far, so I’d love to hear if you have a specialty peppercorn that would make this even better.
Giving a shout out to Whole Foods, I recently learned that they have bulk spices that you can buy in very small quantities, as small as just a teaspoon at a time. Some of the spices that I don’t normally have on hand, including anise and anise stars, cost next to nothing in small doses. This is a HUGE cost savings over buying whole jars, which would take me forever to use and would normally be very pricey, if you can even find them.
I’ll be the first to admit that the process of straining the cooked chai is a little bit of a pain, but it’s a worthwhile trade for me. Prep this recipe one day a week and have this yummy treat on hand to warm up in the microwave on cold mornings. (That’s the organizing tip for today.)
Did you know that you can use cinnamon sticks more than once? Fish out the cinnamon stick you just used, rinse it and dry it. Then store it to use for next week’s batch, and save even more money.
You can use milk instead of evaporated milk, but I don’t often have milk in the fridge. It’s great to know everything I need for this drink is in the pantry and ready to make a batch anytime.
This drink is also refreshing cooled and blended with ice. Yum!
I’ve made this recipe using as much as 6 cups of water to start (keeping all other ingredients at the same amounts) and it still tastes spiced and full-bodied. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your personal taste.
Chai Latte Recipe Flourish
One last nugget. True story, if I were ordering this at the coffee house, I wouldn’t pass up the whipped cream garnish, but I never add it at home. What would you do?