Fragrant spices soaked in real half & half or coconut milk bloom into exquisite fullness in your refrigerator or freezer; brown sugar contributes a caramel-y undertone. With this mix you are ready for a cup of coffeehouse-style Chai Tea anytime the craving for a cup of hot (or iced) comfort lures you.
This formula is the result of much tinkering in the kitchen. I work next door to a Mellelo’s coffee house and was smitten when I tasted their Chai Tea Latte. It reminded me of the tea my dear friend Bhanu, who is originally from Bombay, India, served me on several occasions in her home.
Somehow I can’t get used to the idea of paying $3.35 for a cup of tea, no matter how good it is. I decided to concentrate on what I was tasting and develop a recipe. Here it is, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
1/2 cup half & half (the real thing; note expiration date on carton) or canned coconut milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, honey, or desired sweetener
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
rounded 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine ingredients in a jar with a lid; shake well. Label and refrigerate at least 8 hours before using. Mix can be stored in the refrigerator up to the expiration date on the carton of half & half or poured into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and store them in a zipper top bag in the freezer up to 6 months. Makes 1 cup, enough for 8 cups of tea.
Place a tea bag (or 1 teaspoon loose black tea enclosed in a mesh tea ball) in your favorite 12 ounce mug. Pour boiling water over, cover, and steep 4 minutes. Shake Chai Tea Mix well, measure 2 tablespoons into your mug; stir and enjoy!
Place cups 3 cups water + 3 cups milk (dairy, almond, or other milk of your choice) in the carafe, add 6 black tea bags (or 1 1/2 tablespoons loose black tea leaves enclosed in a mesh tea ball) and 3/4 cup Chai Tea Mix, well-shaken. Brew following appliance instructions. Once machine is finished brewing allow tea to steep 3 minutes. Press the froth button and dispense to serve.
Note: If using tea bags be sure to anchor the strings securely by clamping the machine’s lid on them. If tea bags come in contact with the machines blades they will be torn apart.
To make Iced Thai Chai:
Brew 4 cups strong black tea using 6 tea bags, cool completely, and store in fridge until needed or up to 5 days. Fill a glass halfway with ice, pour chilled tea to just cover the ice and add 2 tablespoons well-shaken Chai Tea Mix and milk to fill the glass. Stir well and serve with a straw.
Tips from Michele:
- For best price, shop for spices during the holiday baking season.
- For best flavor, use fresh spices and store in a cool, dark place.
- The elusive flavors of ground cardamom and nutmeg are best preserved by storing tightly capped glass bottles in the freezer where they will last 2+ years.
- Lacking a Cocoa Grande machine, use a frother to whip your tea into Mellelo’s-style frothiness.