Iced Chai

Chai tea is one of those things that gets me through the winter. That, good company, a warm fire, and a whole lot of butternut squash.

In my opinion, chai is perfect on a cold morning, its exotic spices waking me up even as its warmth fills my belly. Chai is also perfect in the evening when I’m snuggled up with Cary on the couch near our wood stove, its warm sweetness adding to our cozy contentment.

But in the summer, it’s often too hot for chai.

While walking through a local grocery store with Cary a few weekends ago, I got a brilliant idea: I could make my own chai concentrate, leave it in the fridge, and add ice and milk for a refreshing summer version of my favorite winter drink.

And so I did.

The recipe below is really just a starting point, even for me. I find that chai is a very personal drink – do you like it strong or milky? Sweet or spicy? Cinnamon-y or cardamom-y? Play around with the various spices, and even try adding new ones, to see what works best for you. I used ground spices so they would dissolve better, but you can also use whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and crushed cardamom pods – just be sure to strain them when you remove the tea.

Iced Chai

4 cups boiling water
2 tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose-leaf tea in a tea ball (I like Trader Joe’s Red Chai, but if you want caffeine in your chai, I’d opt for an Indian black tea like Assam or Darjeeling)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup white sugar

1. Combine water, tea, and spices in a large container. I like using a Chemex coffee maker without a filter because it’s easy to see how fast the tea is steeping, but use whatever you have on hand.

2. When the tea has steeped to your desired strength (judge by the color if you’re a tea drinker, go with the amount of time listed on the package if you’re not), remove the tea bags and any whole spices you might have used.

3. Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time, tasting in a small cup with a splash of milk as you go, until you reach your desired sweetness. The milk will cut the sweetness, so make sure the tea is sweeter than you want the iced chai to be.

4. Pour the tea into a sealable container (a nalgene or other large water bottle works well – just make sure the tea is sufficiently cool before pouring it in) and place in the fridge until cool.

5. To serve, fill a glass with ice. Pour tea over ice, filling the glass half to two-thirds of the way. Top off with milk. On a cool morning, skip the ice and pour the tea and milk into a mug instead. Microwave until warmed through, 1-3 minutes.

show hide 2 comments

Cary’s Mom May I say again how much your photos delight. The spoons holding the spices is pure artistry.

Megan Thanks :)

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