A hint of cinnamon, a bit of pepper, cloves, and cardamom (not to mention that gentle caffeine nudge). Chai tea is the perfectly balanced cold weather drink.
While I love David’s Tea’s Saigon Chai, making my own homemade chai tea mix replaces any need for a store-bought blend.
This tea is the perfect balancing act, and I love the punch of colour that those pink peppercorns and green whole cardamom give the blend!
Basically, you just count out the spices according to the amount of tea you want to make. (Get the kids to help and you can count it as a math lesson for the day – score!)
I store my dry chai tea mix in a mason jar, but you could use whatever sealable container you had on hand.
For this batch I used Lipton Loose Leaf Orange Pekoe Tea, but I have also used David’s Tea’s organic black tea – they are both equally delicious, so it comes down to personal preference.
I like my tea to have a fair bit of spice and flavour, so feel free to go easier on the blend than I do.
For every 5 tablespoons of black tea, add:
- 10 pink peppercorns
- 5-7 whole, crushed cardamom pods
- 2″ crushed cinnamon sticks
- 12 whole cloves
- Optional: dried ginger, bay leaf, star anise, or spent vanilla pod
If you like a licorice-y taste to your chai, add a bit of star anise — or even better, candied fennel (like the kind given with the check at some Indian restaurants).
I sometimes like adding dried ginger, but it does eventually go bad, so only use it if you plan to go through your homemade chai tea quickly.
If I have a vanilla pod that has had it’s seeds scraped out for another recipe (like my Vanilla Bean Apple Muffins), sometimes I’ll stick the whole scraped pod into the mason jar to give off a hint of vanilla flavour, but that is not an authentic chai flavour.
My favourite way to enjoy chai is as a chai latte. To make your own, put a heaping tablespoon in one to two cups of milk and bring to a boil. Skim out the tea and enjoy!
(You can alternatively use half water and half milk, or just a boiled mug of water topped off with some milk after steeping.)
What’s your favourite kind of tea?