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Oh, I love Chai! I purchased a mix last year, but when I finished that, I started playing around with my own. I’ve finally got it down to my liking (and saucepan size) –
8 cups water
15-20 cardamom pods, crushed open with a mortar and pestle
10ish black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestle
approx. 5″ piece of Cinnamon bark, crushed into small pieces in mortar and pestle (cinnamon quills can work in a pinch, but the bark has a much better flavour – should be able to get them from an Indian food store).
approx. 2″ piece of fresh ginger, sliced/chopped roughly.
I put all this in the saucepan the night before, and then turn the stove on the next morning as I’m heading out for my walk – approx. 45 min-1hr on medium heat with the lid still on. When I get back I add soy milk; approx. 3 cups of it, and leave it to simmer with the lid off for maybe half an hour. Lastly, I add some loose black tea leave – about 1.5 tablespoons worth, put the lid back on, turn of the heat and leave it to steep for a while.
This makes quite a bit obviously. I strain it through a sieve and cheesecloth, and then put it in a jug in the fridge. When I want some, I heat up a cup of it in the microwave and add the honey once hot – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup. In summer, the honey goes in while still warm (either pre or post straining), and I drink it iced.
I think Chai is one of those totally subjective things, so I would say play around with it. I like it quite spicy, hence the peppercorns, and quite a bit of fresh ginger. I’ve kept meaning to add star anise, but keep forgetting to buy some so it hasn’t happened yet 🙂 . I will say that I had a lot of trouble with the tea overpowering the spices in my first attempts until I read somewhere to simmer/infuse the spices in the water and say milk and add the tea last – that’s really worked for me.
If you try it, let me know how you get on. Good luck!