This chai spice mix takes only a few minutes to make and doesn’t require any grinding of spices. Because all ingredients are dried, the mix can be kept in a jar in the cabinet and is ready for use with a simple tea strainer anytime.
What is a chai latte?
What is called a chai latte here in the U.S. is a hot, slightly sweet drink that consists of milk and black tea flavored with a combination of spices (I use cardamom, clove, black peppercorns, ginger and cinnamon).
A chai latte is very simple to make fresh at home and there are actually a number of different ways to do it. You can make an “instant” version – a powder of ground spices, dried milk and sugar that you stir into hot water or milk. Alternatively, you can make a chai concentrate by infusing brewed tea with your mix of spices and keep that in the fridge until you’re ready to use it and then just heat it with milk.
What I do is this: I buy all my chai spices dried (but not powdered), add loose black tea to them and keep that mix in a jar in the cabinet. It keeps for a long time and when I’m ready for a chai latte I steam milk and submerge the spice/tea mix in a tea strainer in it. (If you don’t have a steamer you can certainly heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop but I personally like the taste of steamed milk in this drink). To sweeten I use honey, it complements the warm flavors wonderfully.
How to make it:
Once you’ve got all your spices assembled, it’s very easy to make the spice mix: add 20 whole green cardamom pods, 14 whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 1.5 tablespoons dried cracked ginger and 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon chips to a mortar and lightly crush the spices with a pestle. You don’t want to grind the spices, you just want to open up some flavor by breaking them.
Next, mix in 2 tablespoons loose black tea and that’s all there is as far as the spice mix is concerned. You can fill it into a jar and keep it in the cabinet until you’re ready to use it.
RECIPE TIP: Be sure to use high-grade tea that doesn’t contain any tea dust because dust will come through the tea strainer and the particles would annoy you in the drink.
To make a chai latte, add the spice mix to a tea strainer, then steam some milk and drop the tea strainer in to let the drink steep.
More chai recipes:
- White Russian with Chai Spice-Infused Cream
- Apple Tart with Chai-Spiced Custard Sauce
- Chai-Spiced Rum Raisin Bundt Cake
- Bruleed Chai-Spiced Pots de Creme
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Chai Spice Mix
- 20 whole green cardamom pods
- 14 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried cracked ginger
- 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon chips (broken cinnamon sticks)
- 2 tablespoons loose black tea*
- Add all spices to a mortar and crush very lightly with a pestle.
- Mix the crushed spices with the tea.
- Store the mix in an airtight container.
- To make a chai latte, add about 1 tablespoon of the mix to a tea strainer, then steam** 6 ounces of milk, drop the tea strainer into it and let it steep.
- Sweeten to taste with honey.