Homemade Chai Concentrate
This warm spice concentrate may take a trip to the market in order to round up the whole spices, but the actual recipe is easy. Once made, the concentrate can be conveniently stored in the fridge and combined with your milk of choice for perfect hot or iced chai lattes whenever the mood strikes.

You could add the zest of one orange for a hint of citrus flavor. Can be served iced or hot.

Yield: 5+ cups concentrate


  • 14 green cardamom pods, gently crushed
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (level tablespoons and not a very fine mince)
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 vanilla beans, sliced down the middle (or 2 teaspoons vanilla or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (optional)
  • 3 whole allspice (optional)
  • 8 black tea bags (rooibos is an excellent decaffeinated option; darjeeling is a traditional option but your favorite black tea–I’ve used Lipton–will work well)


  1. Place all of the ingredients except the tea bags in a large saucepan or pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the tea bags, remove the pot from the heat, and let steep, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the liquid for use as concentrate and discarding the spices. Cool the mixture to room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate. You may use right away, although the flavors develop upon resting overnight.
  2. For serving, stir before pouring and then mix equal parts concentrate and milk of choice.* Gently heat for a hot latte; add ice for an iced latte. Mix equal parts concentrate and water for “regular” tea. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, the concentrate will keep for up to one week.


  • *My favorite milk to use in this latte is a mix of almond and coconut milk. Silk offers this mix in a carton alongside their standard almond and soy milks. When using regular milk, I recommend 2% over nonfat for a creamier latte, although any option may absolutely be used.

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