This dry chai spice mix takes only a few minutes to make and doesn’t require any grinding of spices. And it makes absolutely delicious chai lattes!
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 by stirring a powder of ground spices, dried milk and sugar 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 kitchen 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. I use honey to sweeten the drink because it complements the warm flavors wonderfully.
How to make a chai spice mix:
Add 20 whole green cardamom pods, 14 whole cloves, ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 1 ½ tablespoons dried cracked ginger and 1 ½ 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 to do as far as the spice mix is concerned.
*INGREDIENT NOTE: 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.
How to make a chai latte:
Steam 6 ounces milk and pour into a cup. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mix to a tea strainer and drop into the milk. Let the drink steep for about 5 minutes, then remove the tea strainer. Sweeten the drink to taste with honey.
Recipe notes and common questions:
No, you can heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop instead of steaming it.
Fill the mix into a jar and keep it in the cabinet until you’re ready to use it.
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 (these are 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 the milk and let steep for about 5 minutes.
- Sweeten to taste with honey.