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- 2 tablespoons whole cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 piece of star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
- 2 cups milk, any type
- 4 black tea bags
- 1-3 tablespoons rapadura, packed dark brown sugar, or other sweetener of choice
- Cover the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and peppercorns with cheesecloth on a sturdy work surface. Use a rolling pin or a cast-iron skillet to gently crush the spices and help release their aromas. Wrap the crushed spices and the fresh ginger in the cheesecloth or put them in a large tea ball.
- Combine the milk, 2 cups water, and spice bundle in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Return the mixture to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat and immediately add the tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain.
- Stir in your sweetener of choice, stirring to dissolve it. Serve warm.
- For iced chai in warm weather, thoroughly chill the chai and serve it in tall glasses filled with ice.
- For a paleo version, omit the milk and increase the water to 3 cups. Or for a vegan version, use almond milk.
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