Thursday, December 19, 2013

recipe: easy-peasy homemade chai tea concentrate

In high school and college, I was a barista at Starbucks. If you've been around here long enough, I'm sure you've heard some of my stories before-- like how my manager and I used to take espresso shots like tequila when we opened the store at 4 AM, or how I was once proposed to in the drive-through. Mm, such weird fond memories. My coworkers and I used to have the best time inventing new drinks and tasty concoctions on quiet evenings and testing them out on unsuspecting late-night customers. But it was in those pre-coffee years (ah, the irony) that my love affair with chai really began. I've since expanded my hot beverage repertoire, but I still have a place in my heart for those sweet/spicy tea lattes. I do not, however, have a place in my heart for their price tag. The only solution? Make my own, of course!

This concentrate is stupid simple to make, easily customizable & much more cost-effective than lattes or boxes of concentrate from the store. It will keep in the fridge for two weeks (if it lasts that long). Jarred and tied up with cute ribbons, it also makes a great gift! Trust me-- I've already given out a few this Christmas :)


Ingredients:
10 black tea bags 
2 sticks cinnamon
2 large sliced coins of fresh ginger
Cardamom (a few generous shakes of ground, or a handful of pods)
2 whole star anise
10 whole cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
zest of one orange
1 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar (more or less depending on your preference for sweetness)
2 tsp. vanilla


How-to:
Boil 5 c. water. When bubbling, take off of heat and add all ingredients. Stir, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Once steeped to your liking, strain through a fine mesh strainer, or if you like things rustic like moi, pick the large pieces out and let the orange zest and ground spices float around like ya mean it. My favorite way to serve is with 1 part canned coconut milk, one part water (feel free to use just milk, or the equal parts warm milk + hot h20-- that's how it's served at starbucks!) and a tablespoon at a time of the concentrate until it tastes just right. Hot or on ice, the recipe is the same! Sprinkle of cinnamon on top, and you're good to go! You fancy, economical tea drinker, you.



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