1/2″ peeled ginger root (do not use powdered ginger)
6 green cardamom pods
1 tsp Peppercorns
4 cinnamon sticks
3/4 tsp nutmeg (1/2 tsp if using freshly grated)
2 Tbl black tea
3-4 Tbl sugar
4 cups water
2 cups milk (You could use soy milk)
1 tsp vanilla
Slightly crush cardamom pods and peppercorn with a mortar and pestle. (You could use a small bowl and the back of a metal spoon.) Cut ginger root into smaller than pea sized pieces.
Get water up to a boil and add ginger, cardamom, peppercorn, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep 5 minutes.
Without turning the heat back on add the tea and steep for 5 minutes. After five minutes strain out particulates using a colander lined with cheesecloth or a strainer and coffee filter. Strain it into a pitcher or even your coffee pot. I have a permanent mesh filter that came with my coffee pot and that works great for straining this. You want to try and make sure that you get all the little grains, otherwise your chai will have a dirt feel when you are drinking it.
Pour your spiced water back into your pot, add the milk and sugar, and get the mixture hot again. You really only need to get it hot enough for your drinking preference. When your mixture is to your desired temperature add the vanilla and serve. If you are going to be refrigerating your chai you don’t need to reheat it with the milk. However, make sure that the sugar is dissolved.
This will keep well in your refrigerator for a while.
If you don’t like spicy drinks this should be okay. The amounts listed will give it a bit of heat but not enough to cause pain. It is a very pleasant warmth. Also, you could make it without the cardamom and ginger, but the flavor wouldn’t be as interesting.
I guarantee, once you drink homemade chai you will have a hard time going to back to Starbucks or liquid chai in a box. Gross.
A huge pet peeve of mine is when people say chai tea. Why? Chai means tea. It means tea in several languages. So, when you say chai tea you are really saying tea tea.