Nine times out of ten when I go to a coffee shop I order a chai. I consider myself a connoisseur of chai. The flavor varies greatly from coffee house to coffee house. Some are very spicy, some more earthy, some sweet, some really sweet. It's kind of a science. But alas, I think I have cracked the code and I'm here today to share it with you. Making chai is not as easy as making a pot of coffee, so my advice is to make a big pot of it and refrigerate the leftovers for yummy chai all week long.

Homemade Chai

4 cups milk (2% or fatter)
2 cups water
6 black tea bags, string and tags removed
1/3 cup sugar (more if desired)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled (also chop if you want more gingery flavor)
16 cardamom seeds
15 peppercorns
10 cloves
2-3 small sticks of cinnamon

Combine the cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves in a cloth tea bag, or muslin spice bag. Gently hammer the spices to crush them up a little. You're not going for powder here, just breaking them up. Pour the milk and water into a medium to large pot and add the tea bags, spice sack, cinnamon sticks and ginger. Simmer on medium heat , stirring occasionally. 

You want it to get a little foamy on top, but not boiling, about 10 minutes. Once you get to the foamy state, add the sugar, stir until dissolved and turn the heat down. Simmer for a few more minutes then scoop out everything you can. Chances are that the cinnamon as broken into some little pieces and you won't be able to get all the ginger pieces either. Strain through a fine sieve or use a french press (which its what we do). Strain the whole batch and then refrigerate the leftovers (if you have any). 

I have to admit I had never used cardamom before I started making this. It's cool, and expensive, but luckily a little goes a long way, since you only need about two of the green pods to get 16 seeds. We found cardamom pods in the bulk foods section of our grocery store. 

Microwave a mug at a time or pour over a glass of ice, to try the iced version which is also super tasty. Contemplate your future as a barista and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for coming to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." We would love to have you back! -The Sisters

  2. Can you use soy milk as a substitute for cow's milk and have it turn out ok?

    1. I think soy milk would work fine, just make sure not to use flavored (like vanilla) because it will really change the taste and make it too sweet. Let me know if you try it. Good luck!

    2. I use soy milk in my chai everyday!

  3. I love chai! I'm drinking one right now, iced. I just tried to make frozen yo-chai, but it didn't turn out all that great. I wish someone made a chai ice cream. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


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