andelieya chai

Photograph by Andelieya.

There’s nothing more soothing in the Winter than a hot chai tea. I have found that the prepackaged liquid concentrates at the store are often full of sugar to the point of being undrinkable. The mixes that come in powder form are even more cloyingly sweet (I did not think that was possible) and their flavor is quite disappointing: flat, uninteresting, even gritty.

In fact, it is very easy to make your own delicious chai tea without any added sweeteners and with the intensity of spice that suits you best. From gathering the fragrant spices to sipping a cup, the whole process is brilliant and enjoyable. This tea will transport you to your favorite Indian eatery (figuratively, of course).

Homemade Chai Tea

1 cup dry green tea leaves
1/2 cup dry black tea leaves (preferably darjeeling)
2 medium slices of fresh ginger
¼  tbsp whole cloves
2 medium cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 medium (3 inch) licorice stick
3 star anise pods
Honey (to taste)
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups filtered water

Place tea leaves and dried herbs (plus fresh ginger) in a pot. Start to heat it up slowly and add filtered water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes. The tea must be very strong and fragrant at this point. Add almond milk and bring up to a simmer without boiling. Sweeten to taste if desired. Use a mesh sieve to collect the spices and discard. It can be stored in a mason jar for a couple of days. It needs refrigeration.