Some of our friends may recognize the word “chai” as the word simply for tea in many languages. When we think of “chai” here in the US, what comes to mind is a warm, spicy drink, usually in latte form from a drive-thru. Traditionally chai is a tea based beverage that has been steeped with aromatic spices.
Today, let’s make masala chai. Masala chai is a drink with origins in India that combines black tea with spices and herbs. We’ve been brewing and blending this recipe for some time and are excited to share it with you. We use ground spices in our recipe because for most of us it is what we have on hand. You can absolutely use whole dried spices if that’s what you have or what you prefer. When using whole spices you can grind them in a coffee grinder, crush them with the back of a heavy pan, or break them up with a mortar and pestle. Bundle them in some cheese cloth to keep things tidy or throw them in your pan and run your finished beverage through a fine mesh or coffee filter.
This recipe serves 2 making it perfect to share with a friend. Let’s get started!
Prefer coffee to tea? To put a chai twist on your coffee, add your ground chia spice blend to your coffee grounds and brew as usual.
Like your beverages cold? Follow our recipe but reduce the milk to 1½ cup. Chill your finished beverage in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Serve over ice.
Want to be different? You can also personalize you chai by adding some non-traditional ingredients. For something new, you can try adding:
- Dried orange peel for a citrus twist
- Maple syrup or brown sugar to sweeten
- Rose or lavender for floral tones
- Top with steamed milk or whipped cream
- Add a swirl of chocolate syrup when serving cold
- Add a pinch of dried fennel for a new spice flavor
- Incude astragalus root for an adaptogen kick
- Use vanilla bean for a sweet, smoky taste
- Add a shot of espresso for a ‘dirty chai’
- Use green tea or earl grey to suit your tea tastes
- If using a non-dairy milk, try using an unsweetened flavored variety
What do you add to your chai? We want to know! Comment below with your results from this recipe or share with us how you make chai. You can share with us on Facebook and Instagram too: @NorEasternHerb. Happy sipping!
Text version of Our Best Ever Chai Recipe:
Our Best Ever Chai Recipe (No spice grinder or straining required!)
Equipment: Stovetop or hotplate, small sauce pan, fine mesh strainer or coffee filter and funnel (optional), measuring spoons, spoon, 2 mugs.
1 pinch ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1/2 fresh ginger sliced into thin discs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 whole star anise
2 black tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose black tea
2 cups of milk (dairy, nut, or plant-based)
You can use water in lieu of milk or a combination of the two as long as it totals 2 cups of liquid.
Add all ingredients except for the tea to a small saucepan.
- You can toast the spices for up to 1 minute prior to adding liquid but it is not required.
Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring as needed.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the tea. Cover and let sit 4-5 minutes.
Uncover and remove the tea bags and star anise. The star anise can be disposed or used as a garnish when serving.
Pour mixture into 2 mugs.
- If you do prefer to strain your chai, use a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter in a funnel and strain into mugs. Because we are using ground spices straining is not necessary but can still be done per your preference.
Add sugar or honey to taste to sweeten.
Serve and enjoy!