This homemade masala chai tea is a big hit at our house. My daughter and I love it and always have a jar of chai spices ready to brew.
We make our own spice blend by coarsely crushing fresh spices we pick up at the local bulk store. It smells and looks so pretty – perfect for our collection of gifts from the kitchen.
This is not an instant powder chai tea mix. This is the real deal made with fresh, whole spices. To get the full aroma and flavor of these spices, it takes about 20 minutes to properly brew. The extra time will fill your house with an amazing aroma and build your anticipation of every sip.
The Chai Tea Spice Mix – Karha
We keep our blend of chai spices, called karha, and the tea separate so we can vary the tea variety and steep it just the way we want. On most occasions we use whatever black tea is in the house, but if we want to go caffeine free we reach for the Rooibos. If we’re feeling really crazy, we use green tea – yup, we’re pretty wild around here!
Our karha includes cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander seeds, allspice, ginger, peppercorns, green cardamom pods and star anise. These are fairly common ingredients in any masala chai mix. The green cardamom is the star of the show and a must have in chai. Star anise adds a hint of licorice flavor and is sometimes replaced by fennel seeds or licorice root. The black peppercorn and allspice add a spicy bite (choose one or the other if you prefer chai less spicy). Cloves with their strong musty flavor are another staple in chai. The coriander seeds add a little sweetness – I like adding them because they’re from our garden. Cinnamon and ginger are also pretty standard flavors.
The following recipe is just a starting point, make your chai mix to suit your preferences.
Chai Tea Mix Recipe
Chai Tea Spice Blend
- 1/2 cup green cardamom pods
- 10 cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 Tbsp allspice berries
- 2 Tbsp candied ginger chopped
- 2 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup star anise
Chai Tea for Two
- 2 Tbsp chai tea spice blend
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2 bags black tea
- 1-2 Tbsp honey
- Use mortar and pestle or rolling pin and dish towel to crack seeds and break spices to allow them to release their flavor more easily. No need to crush them too fine.
- Place in a tight sealing jar.
- Store out of direct sunlight and use within 3 to 6 months.
- Makes about 2 cups of mix or 30 cups (1 Tbsp/cup).
Brewing Tea for Two
- In a small pot, add 1-2 Tbsp of chai tea spice blend depending on how intensely flavored and spicy you like your chai tea. Toast spices on medium heat for 1 minute until aromatic.
- Add milk and water. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow flavors to infuse into milk and water.
- Remove pot from heat. Add black tea bags and steep for 3 minutes or longer to suit your preference.
- Remove tea bags and add honey to taste.
- Pour into 2 mugs through strainer,
Chai Tea Brewing Instructions
Include the following instructions on the jar of chai tea mix.
Brew for Two
1-2 Tbsp chai tea spice blend
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1-2 black tea bags
1-2 Tbsp honey
In small pot on medium heat, toast chai tea spices for 1 minute. Add milk and water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Add black tea bags and steep for 3 minutes or longer. Remove tea bags and add honey to taste. Pour into mug through strainer.
If you like the tags I created for our gift giving, here’s a free pdf you can download and print. Thanks to Svyatoslava_Mfor her super cute graphics part of her Winter Kittens collection. Chai Tea Labels – Cups
Brew Extra for the Week
Want to enjoy several cups throughout the week? Brew an extra large pot full and save in the fridge.
Triple or quadruple the recipe. Pour the extras into glass mason jars through a fine mesh strainer. Seal and store for 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat as needed. Easy peasy.
Did you know that the word chai means tea in several languages? So when we say chai tea we’re really saying “tea tea”. Technically, I should say masala chai, which literally means – mixed spice tea. Oh the funny things that happen when cultures play together!
Here are some other funny redundant foodie terms:
Naan bread – Naan means bread
Panini Sandwich – Panini means sandwich
Shrimp Scampi – scampi means shrimp
Queso Cheese – Queso means cheese
Ahi Tuna Fish – tuna is a fish and ahi means tuna – so you’re eating fish fish fish
Can you think of any others?
Discuss among yourself as you’re sipping on a lovely cup of chai tea! Then let me know what you come up with.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.