This Homemade Chai Tea is a blend of spices simmered with black tea, milk, and sweetener. Creating the perfect cup of tea for a chilly day.
There is nothing like a good cup of hot chai tea on a blustery day. Especially those days when you can see your breath in the cold air. You know the ones. Those days are coming sooner rather than later, aren’t they?
Entering the house to a bubbling pot of this Homemade Easy Chai Tea is comforting and the aroma of the spices create an inviting scent. It immediately warms you not just from the heat of the tea itself but with those warm spices used to create this delicious cup of tea.
Years ago I was introduced to chai tea through a friend who frequented Indian restaurants. Not only had I not eaten Indian food in my life to that point. But I was also missing out on the wonders of a good cup of chai tea. During our lunches, she would order a cup of tea after the meal.
Always a slight change in spices used at the various restaurants we frequented. But still that same creamy, spices, and black tea blend as the basis. I began ordering them myself at different restaurants and coffee houses around our city. Noticing that each cup had a subtle taste difference. But all of them offered warmth and a burst of flavor different than any tea I have had prior.
What is Chai Tea?
Doing a quick search for chai tea on the internet can have you a bit confused as to the many types of teas one might be referring to when mentioning the word chai. For this recipe, we are making masala chai tea. An Indian tea brewed with spices, milk, and sweetener.
In the US, chai tea has become quite a popular “flavored” tea often found in coffee and tea houses around the country. Generally speaking, it is found with subtle notes of cardamom and cinnamon, although chai tea is made with various spices worldwide. It is true that the spices used vary by whoever is preparing the chai tea.
In India, tea is a way of life and chia tea is their regular way to make tea. So it is not a flavored tea there but the way to make tea. In fact, the word chai in Hindi is tea. So essentially when we are saying chai tea, what we are actually saying is”tea tea“. Sort of weird once you realize that.
There it is offered by tea carts, restaurants, and shops all over. Chai tea is a staple tea brewed daily in most households in India.
However, the same rules apply to preparing any good cup of it. Namely properly simmering the right spices with black tea and adding cream along with a touch of sweetener while it simmers. These subtle but important steps are what make this tea so unique. Simply boiling a pot of water and steeping the spices in a tea bag won’t do. The spices need to simmer in a pot and blend to create the right touch for this tea. As does the milk and sweetener.
For this recipe, we are going to use very traditional spices to flavor this Homemade Easy Chai Tea. Creating a meld of spices that blend well together. Creating a warm flavorful, mildly sweet cup of traditional chai tea. Though it might seem complicated, this Homemade Easy Chai Tea really is a simple process and one you will get right the first time.
Star Anise– a sweet licorice-like flavor
Cardamom– a piney, fruity yet somewhat menthol-like flavor. Traditionally found in most chia teas globally
Ginger– a warm but slightly pungent and spicy aroma
Cinnamon– a sweet and woodsy flavor with a slight spiciness
Cloves– a subtly sweet but intensely aromatic spice that adds warmth
Peppercorns– added for heat and piney notes
Milk– whole milk to add creaminess to the tea
Tea-black tea is typically used for chia teas and can be either decaf or regular
Sweetener– for this Homemade Easy Chai Tea, I love using honey as my sweetener. Honey adds a subtle sweetness perfect for the spices used. It is also a great alternative to sugar. However, sugar is traditionally used in chai tea. This recipe includes both options.
Sources for Spices
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Can I use green tea as opposed to black for chai tea?
You can. In fact, many households in India prefer using green tea over black for their chai teas.
Can I still make chai tea missing a spice?
Yes, you absolutely can. Many people simmer in just a few spices. The most common to use are cinnamon and cardamom. You can make a good cup just using both of those. I would make sure to use both cinnamon sticks if doing so and possibly another pod of cardamom. That way you have enough spice to your cup of tea.
What You Will Need To Make It
2 bags of black tea (decaf or regular)
4 cups of water
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 star anise
1-2 cinnamon sticks
3 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
2 tbsp honey (or 3 tbsp sugar)
1 cup whole milk
In a medium sauce pot begin heating the water, and spices. When simmering, about the 5 minute point, add the two tea bags to the pot.
Allow the tea to steep into the simmering water, another 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the milk and add the sweetener. Give the pot a stir to ensure the sweetener has blended in. Allow the tea to simmer until foamy. About 2-3 minutes of simmering.
When ready, remove from the heat. Place a strainer over each teacup or over a bowl to strain out the spices.
Serve immediately. This makes enough for 4 cups of chai tea.
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- 2 bags of black tea (decaf or regular)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 cups of water
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1-star anise
- 2 tbsp honey (or 3 tbsp sugar)
- In a medium sauce pot begin heating the water, and spices.
- When simmering, at about the 5-minute point, add the two tea bags to the pot.
- Allow the tea to steep in the simmering water, for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the milk and add the sweetener. Give the pot a stir to ensure the sweetener has blended in.
- Allow the tea to simmer until foamy. About 2-3 minutes of simmering.
- When ready, remove from the heat. Place a strainer over each teacup or over a bowl to strain out the spices.
- Serve immediately. This makes enough for 4 cups of chia tea.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 2g