DIY Homemade Chai Tea

I’m addicted to chai tea. It’s just a fact, and it’s also a problem. I have gone broke on Starbucks, filled my fridge with boxes of Tazo chai mix and yet I still have not been able to get my fix.

The Tazo Chai is basically what you can get at Starbucks, and it’s pretty good. It’s chai concentrate, which means that you need to mix it with milk or soy milk or however you like it. Unfortunately, to get a stronger chai taste, you have to add about 50 percent or more chai to the concoction. You can get in in most grocery stores, or online for anywhere from $5 to $9.

The great thing about having chai concentrate on hand is that it’s really convenient for making iced chai. You just pour over ice, add the dairy and concentrate, and there you go. You can also heat it up in the microwave quickly for a hot drink. Personally, I find using concentrate much more satisfying than chai tea bags. And no one should ever use the chai K-Cups. They’re disgusting.

For Christmas, one of my similarly chai-obsessed friends gave me a Mason jar full of homemade chai concentrate. Despite looking like muddy moonshine in my fridge, it was absolutely delicious.

So I decided to try my hand at it as well. I was surprised by how easy it was to do, and while the initial cost of ingredients is a bit expensive, if you are planning on making this several times in the future, it will be well worth it. If you don’t have these ingredients in your cupboard already, there’s a good chance your mom will, so go raid her kitchen first. As someone who is tragic in the kitchen (seriously, you don’t even want to know how bad my attempt to make Thai iced tea was), this was very easy and quick to do. I made two batches in less than one episode of “Charmed.”



This recipe makes 1 quart of chai concentrate.

– 2 cinnamon sticks

– 2 teaspoons black peppercorns

– 10 whole cloves

– 6 cardomom cloves (preferably green)

– 6 cups cold water

– 6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling or Assam)

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

– 4 slices fresh ginger (you can substitute with ground ginger if necessary)


– Combine peppercorns, cloves, cardomom cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger in bowl.

– Crush ingredients together, either gently for mild chai or almost ground for spicier chai. (Note: cinnamon sticks won’t crush that well, so don’t worry about trying). Alternatively, you can combine in a saucepan and heat to release the spices.

– In large pan, add 6 cups water and the spices. If you don’t want to have to strain the tea when you’re finished, add the spices to a tea strainer or stitch a coffee strainer together.

– Bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, reduce heat, cover and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.

– Add 6 teabags of your choice. If you want very strong chai, add more teabags. If you are using fresh tea, add in 8 to 12 teaspoons, depending on strength. Steep for 5 to 7 minutes.  If you want stronger chai, add more teabags. Do not steep for longer!

– Remove from heat and strain the tea. While still warm, add the 1/2 cup of brown sugar. (NOTE: Use brown sugar over white sugar. It really improves the taste.) If you want your chai less sweet, feel free to cut down on the sugar as much as you want.

– Put into a container and refrigerate.


– Fill glass with ice, and add in chai concentrate. Fill the glass about halfway, more if you want stronger chai.

– Add in dairy of your choice. I like to do a few dashes of vanilla creamer and then fill the rest with milk. You can do almond milk, soy milk, or whatever you like.

– Sprinkle ground cinnamon or any other spices on top for taste!


– Fill microwave safe mug 1/2 way with chai, more if you want it stronger. Add in dairy, microwave for 1-2 minutes.

– Sprinkle some ground cinnamon over the top for taste!


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  • If you have a Whole Foods or a local co-op (many times you can shop at co-ops without being a member) with a loose spice section, buying these kinds of spices ends up not being too bad! You can actually buy the exact number of cardamom pods you need and it’s usually a fraction of the price of buying them jarred in the spice aisle! This is great for experimenting or if you know it’ll be awhile until the next time you break out the whole cardamom.

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