Last week, in an effort to iron out some stomach woes, I gave up coffee, even the decaf variety. This meant switching to tea, because no hot drinks was not an option in January. I like tea, but was in the mood for something robust and filling, so I decided chai fit the bill.
The chai at Starbucks and readily available in concentrate form is good, but not vegan. The chai in teabags is decent, but not amazing. To make chai from scratch each time is admirable, but not realistic! Thus, I decided to make my own chai concentrate. I’m still adjusting the recipe, but this is what I have right now.
Note: I like my chai like I like my… um… tea -spicy and sweet. Adjust as needed.
Vegan Chai Concentrate
(makes 1 quart jar + a bit)
30 cardamom pods
10 cinnamon sticks
30 black peppercorns
5 star anise
2 medium pieces of fresh ginger, sliced
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. fennel
½ cup brown or raw sugar
5 cups water
15 black tea bags (regular or decaf)*
Place all ingredients except tea bags and cinnamon sticks in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.
After 15-20 minutes, raise the heat again for a minute to bring the pot back to a boil. Add tea bags and cinnamon sticks and turn heat to low. Steep for 8-10 minutes.
Strain mixture into a canning jar or other glass container for storage (it will stain plastic). To drink, mix ½ and ½ with the milk of your choice and heat – or not if you want a cold drink.
I don’t know how long exactly it will last, because I drink it pretty fast, but at least 5 days.
* The type of black tea doesn’t matter, really, so just get something inexpensive.