Sunday, January 20, 2008


Last week I was in the land of the chai drinkers - Silicon Valley. Since I don't drink coffee and I needed to be sociable, I learned to drink chai at $starbuc$. To my surprise, I liked it - maybe a bit sweet but steamed milk and spiced tea was a great combination - except for the price. At $3 for a medium sized drink, I wasn't going to have many of those.

So time for deconstruction. Reading the label told me that there was lots of sugar, but more importantly a nice mixture of spices and black tea. So, on coming home, I thought I would give it a go. I have most of the interesting spices at home, so made up a recipe. If there are no posts following this one, it means I have poisoned myself!

Typically tea in hot water takes 3-5 minutes to brew, and I knew this would not be long enough to extract the flavors from the spices, so I let them stand much longer.

Ingredients - the quantities are not (yet) very precise
4 quarts (that is 1 US gallon, .8 of a UK gallon, a little under 4 litres) of water.
2T whole cardamom - preferably green, they taste stronger than the bleached white cardamom
1T whole white peppercorns
1T whole black peppercorns
5 inch piece of cinnamon - broken up into pieces
6 cloves
pinch of salt
2T whole coriander
2oz crystallized ginger
6T strong black loose tea (English breakfast is what I used).

Lightly crush the whole spices in a pestle and mortar. Put the water, spices and salt into a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and allow to cool (overnight in my case). Strain out the spices, put the spiced liquid back into the pan, bring to the boil and add the tea. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain, allow to cool and serve with the appropriate amount of hot milk and simple syrup.


Madame said...

He survived! We made a cup of chai using 2t simple syrup, 1 cup of chai mix (as above) and 3/4 cup of hot milk.

Wow this was outstanding - a bit sweet, so less simple syrup next time, but it looks like we have a winner here!

frannie said...

I used a little too much milk the first time, but it was wonderful anyway. It is especially good with turbinado sugar. Thank you!