If you love a great chai latte' but don't want to run to Starbucks and spend $3 every time you want a cup, you need this recipe. It is so easy to make it at home. You probably have nearly everything you need in your cupboards right now.
In the final step, I give tips for saving more money on this recipe. So don't miss the last step!
WARNING! Many people (myself included) have developed addictions to this recipe! Proceed at your own risk!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients.
Here's what you'll need:
2 C. Water
2 Regular Tea Bags
1/8-1/4 teaspoon EACH of ginger and cardamon
1 whole clove
1 cinnamon stick
6 Splenda packets or 1/4 cup Sugar
2 1/2 C. Milk
Step 2: Mix Tea and Spices.
In your sauce pan, add water, spices, and tea bags. Bring it to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Boil It Up.
After boiling, it will look like this. Don't worry if a tea bag breaks open. You can strain the tea later.
Step 4: Add the Sweetener.
Now add the Splenda. If you'd rather you can use 1/4 C. Sugar. I have tried using less sweetener, gradually using less and less, and you get used to the less-sweet taste. I've heard of people using honey, but it would change the taste.
Step 5: Add the Milk.
Now add the milk, and return it to a boil. This won't take long, and if you aren't careful, it will boil over. Quite a mess!
Here's a neat little trick: if you take a stick of butter and run it quickly around the rim of the pan when it's hot, the chai won't boil over.
Step 6: Strain and Enjoy
Now you get to enjoy it! I use a little cup strainer as shown in the picture. This is especially great if a tea bag breaks open. But also after boiling milk, you can get a "scum" on top. While the tea, spices and scum are harmless, they can be unpleasant to consume. So the strainer is nice to have.
Step 7: Money Saving Tips and Variations
OK, I promised you some money saving tips. Here they are.
First, try finding the spices at a health-food store. You can usually buy in bulk there, and purchase small amounts by weight. It's much more economical, and you can keep them fresh - they lose their flavor over time.
If you want larger quantities, Sams and Gordon Food Service have spices in 1 lb containers. This is how I purchase my cinnamon sticks. And while I'm on cinnamon sticks, did you know you can reuse them? Rinse them off and let them dry out again. Give them a sniff and if you smell cinnamon, use them again. You can get 3-4 uses from them anyway.
As for the Splenda, I did a little research and discovered that it is cheaper to purchase the box of 1000 packets at Sam's club than to use even the Walmart brand of measurable sweetener.
I love this chai just the way I described it. But if you want to vary it, try one of these ideas:
Richer Chai: Use whole milk or even some real cream instead of skim milk.
Dessert Chai: Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Make-ahead Chai: My sister makes double, triple or even quadruple batches of the first 4 steps and keeps it in canning jars in the refrigerator. Then when she wants chai, she just adds the milk and heats up what she wants. It keeps a week or more in the fridge. (But personally, I like it fresh!)