I love homemade chai. What I don’t love is that to get it right, I need hours to make a cup of tea. I don’t always have that time. This past Christmas season, I began to see a lot of chai recipes using essential oils. There was potential there.
I had to order some essential oils. I typically make my chai with cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and ginger. I looked into purchasing those essential oils and I will tell you they don’t all come cheap. Since cinnamon and clove are already essential oils I use, I splurged and got some ginger since I know I can use it for a number of things.
Earlier this week, I gathered what I could to make a cup of “instant” chai. Using cardamom black tea, I made a small pot with about 6-7 drops of ginger, clove and cinnamon essential oils. It was strange. The smell was like strong dirt. The flavor not so much better. I held out and poured myself a cup with a little milk and sugar just as I like my chai. It was doable. My family said they weren’t really sure how they felt but they weren’t feeling positive.
So maybe that won’t be how we make our chai. I have done other experiments in the past. I’ve made syrup which is not bad but more sweet than I like. I’ve made an instant sort of version that didn’t go over so well. Replacing whole spices with powdered is not as good of an idea as you would think. However, in a pinch, I have done it with some success.
I have other chai experiments coming but in the meantime, here are what I think are the best recipes.
8 cups water
1 cup honey
3 cinnamon sticks
12 cardamon pods
12 whole cloves
6 tsp black leaf tea
Put ingredients in pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain before adding to milk or water. (I think this can be canned but I haven’t tried it.)
½ cup milk plus more to taste
3-inch stick cinnamon
½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced or 1 teas grated ginger
2 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
4 teaspoon sugar and more to taste
4 tea bags
In large saucepan combine 5 cups of water, milk, spices and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let set for 5-10 minutes. Add tea bags and bring to boil for a second time. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes. Check for flavor and add more sugar and milk if needed. Can strain and serve at that time or leave on slow simmer and drink on all day, straining tea into cups – be sure not to let all the water evaporate.
*I should note that these are the original recipes and I use them more like guidelines. I now make my tea without the milk and sugar. Once the tea is properly steeped, everyone adds milk and sugar to their liking. Years ago, when I did add the milk and sugar we would have leftover tea. It was as great cold as it was hot. I, honestly, couldn’t tell you the last time I had leftover tea though.