I sat there staring at the board contemplating what to order. The clerk was outwardly patient, but the little voices in my head kept telling me that I was “holding the line up, they had other things to do.” I turned around. No one was there. I looked at the clerk, she blinked…waiting…
I sighed and hesitantly said “I’ll have an Iced Chai Tea Latte.”
Instantly I regretted it. $3.75 for a grande. Plus tax. Ugh. I handed over my debit card, hating myself. I knew a whole carton of concentrate cost a little over $4. But instead of 5-8 servings, I was getting one.
I’m a sucker for Chai tea. Anything that reminds me of a cozy fall day is top in my book. To me, Chai is the tea that takes away all my worries and stress. The subtle taste of cinnamon and spice immediately puts me on a wooded path with newly fallen leaves, painted deep colors of red, orange and yellow, and a crisp breeze ruffling through.
One of my happy places.
Knowing our budget couldn’t afford $3.75 whenever I had a hankering for an iced or hot Chai (this is usually a daily occurrence), I decided I needed to come up with a more affordable alternative. There are two ways you can make Chai tea concentrate. The easy way, or the hard way. Let go for the easy way shall we?
- A box of Chai tea by Twinings (I’ve used Stash before too and it works really well)- $2.50 for 20 bags.
- A big pot, enough to hold over 10 cups of liquid
- A tea ball
- Brown Sugar
- Whole Allspice, whole cardamom, whole coriander, whole cloves, Star of Anise (these are more optional, they give it an extra kick)
In the big pot, measure out 10 cups of water. Take 10 tea bags and places them in the pot of water. Bringing the tea bags up to temperature simultaneously with the water helps bring out a smoother flavor. (This goes for all cups of tea.) Bring water up to a strong simmer. It is ok if it boils, but reduce temperature shortly after. In a tea ball combine 1 tsp Allspice, a pinch of coriander, a pinch of cardamom, 1 Star of Anise and 1-2 tsp of cloves. Hang the ball over the side of the pot so the spices are submerged in the liquid. Add 1 Tbsp of cinnamon, 1/4 C brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tsp vanilla into pot steeping tea. Let this simmer for a few hours. The liquid will reduce by about half (should make about 4 cups- which is about 5-8 servings). Taste to see if more spices or sweetener needs to be added to fit your preference. Store in juice/water container/jar/bottle in the refrigerator for 1 month.
Your house smell of warm, wonderful spices that will make you want to belt out Andy William’s “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”. Don’t fight it.
Next, light some candles in a darkened room and put on some nice relaxing piano music or turn on a nice feel-good-and-maybe-make-you-cry movie, heat (or pour over ice) some of your delicious mixture up with a splash of milk (soy and almond are awesome too), and grab a plate of cookies. Eat, drink and enjoy.
The Everyday Chef and Wife