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Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Warm spices, strong tea and steamed milk swirling around in my tummy make chai lattes a favorite during the winter months. It warms me from the inside out in a way that puts coffee and tea to shame. Unfortunately, the chai concentrate from certain coffee chains is too sweet. But there is something better.

It never occurred to me to make my own chai. (Certainly it must be too hard.) But when I saw this recipe from thecatnipcat for this Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate, something about the whole thing seemed doable. If I had known how easy it was, I would have started making my own years ago. Needless to say, this version is delicious! And I love that I can up the quantities of the flavors I like more and reduce the quantities of the flavors I like less. For example, we used less sugar and doubled the cinnamon. Make the original version, then tweak the recipe based on your preferences. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find her recipe is just right for you.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, star anise, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, orange zest, tea bags, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla.

Start by bringing 4 1/2 cups water to the boil on the stove.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Then you need some orange zest. If you don’t have a zester, you can use a vegetable peeler.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

The recipe says to use a piece of ginger. For us that meant three large coins which we smashed to release more flavor.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Once the water has come to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and add the tea bags.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Then add your cinnamon sticks (we only add two—it just looks like we’re using four because we broke them in half).

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Then add your star anise and seven cardamom pods. We only had cardamom seeds so we looked up how many seeds there are in a pod. The answer is “about 12” so we added roughly 80 cardamom seeds (no we did not count them out).

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Then add the rest of the spices: the whole cloves, freshly ground pepper, zest (or peel), smashed ginger, and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir the pot to mix all the ingredients. This is the point at which Mom said, “This is starting to look like a witch’s brew.” I concurred.

Add sugar, vanilla and honey and then let this steep for 15-20 minutes. Our family likes our chai concentrate like we like our tea and coffee, strong and dark. So we let it go the full 20 minutes.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

When the chai concentrate has reached desired taste and color, strain out the spices and zest.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

Now you are left with delicious, homemade chai concentrate.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

We added the chai concentrate to steamed milk, but you could mix it with ice cream or yogurt to give plain vanilla a flavor kick.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate. Guest post by Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks, recipe submitted by TK member thecatnipcat.

All I know is that I will never pay $3.25 for an overly-sweet chai again.

Thanks again, thecatnipcat!


Printable Recipe

Amazing Spiced Chai Concentrate

4.92 Mitt(s) 26 Rating(s)26 votes, average: 4.92 out of 526 votes, average: 4.92 out of 526 votes, average: 4.92 out of 526 votes, average: 4.92 out of 526 votes, average: 4.92 out of 5

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 8


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All the flavor of a mix, with no funky additives or preservatives! The benefits to making your own mix are obvious: you can customize it all you want, you know exactly what’s in it, and if you buy them in bulk, the spices can be dirt cheap!


  • 4-½ cups Water
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 piece Fresh Ginger Chopped
  • 7 whole Cardamom Pods
  • 2 whole Star Anise Pods
  • 10 whole Cloves
  • ¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Freshly-ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Zest
  • 10 teaspoons Green Or Black Tea Or 10 Tea Bags
  • ⅔ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

Bring the water to a boil. Add the spices and tea, remove from heat and let steep 15-20 minutes, depending on how strong you want it. Strain and add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part milk, heat and enjoy or pour over ice.

For a stronger flavor, mix 2 parts concentrate with 1 part milk or half-and-half (if you’re like me).

This concentrate will keep in the fridge for around 2 weeks. Freeze it in an icecube tray and add to smoothies!


Three Many Cooks is the always-entertaining food blog of Pam Anderson and her two daughters, Maggy and Sharon. Pam is a well-known and much-respected food writer and author, Maggy is a “hippy adventurer meets 1950s housewife,” and Sharon refers to herself as a recovering food snob learning to survive on a graduate student’s budget. Theirs is a strong relationship both inside and outside the kitchen, and it shows in the food they create and the stories they tell.



Comments are closed for this recipe.

le rocher on 4.16.2011

we love this!

Emily on 3.28.2011

This is awful…takes too long

rob on 3.27.2011

cloves,i used to make chai tea all the time and was just talking about making it yesterday. for the life of me i could not remember the last ingrediant so thank you.

Chelsea on 2.28.2011

I was just wondering, I looked up the original recipe and it said to add the sugar, honey, and vanilla after it was steeped, your recipe calls to do it before steeping.

Is there a reason? Is one way better than another? Or is it just an honest mistake?

Inquiring minds and thirsting tounges want to know.

Heidi on 2.22.2011

I made this today and it’s wonderful! I used ground cardamom and it turned out great. Thank you!

Silvertongue62 on 2.20.2011

It’s amazing the things you stumble upon on the internet…

Beth on 2.7.2011

Oh my! I made this and was in heaven! Had to go to the local health food store to pick up the few ingredients I didn’t have….nutmeg, cardamom and star anise. Cardamom is the most expensive. I paid 7.50 for 0.220 lbs, it runs 34.00 a pound. I used the green pods. I used granulated orange peel instead of zest. This was quick and easy to throw together. Won’t last long that’s for sure. Need to stock up on ingredients.

Leah - Chef Maven on 2.7.2011

WOW – not only lovely photos, but a wonderfully easy and perfect for those weekly winter storms we have been having here in NY! Love chai tea and this recipe is the kind I seek when creating wonderful food at home – and in this case amazing homemade chai tea – will most certainly come on back and check out more of your recipes. Thank you for sharing. I will print out the chai recipe but promptly!

Miriam on 2.6.2011

Would you please specify amounts. Say a teaspoon of clove, 2 T of honey. Thanks

hind on 2.6.2011

As an Indian, this recipe is nothing short of scandalous to me. Don’t get me wrong, the concoction sounds wonderful, if a little overboard with flavours but it simply cannot be called “Chai”. Ginger, cardamom and whatever other spices one likes to use have to be boiled with milk slowly till the flavours are released. A little black tea is added in the end. Use too much tea, or add it to soon to the milk, and the end product is something very bitter. You cannot just throw in an obscene number of teabags, add spices and call it chai! And damn starbucks for misinforming the entire country about what chai is.

Severine on 2.4.2011

Just finished, so delicious. you’re right in cutting the sugar in half, I have put 1/3 cup and it’s already quite sweet.
Thanks for sharing!

Martha Elena Tendilla on 2.4.2011

MMM !!! Delicioso !!! Gracias por compartir !!!

Sherral Coe on 2.2.2011

YUM – making some tonight, sit next to the fire and read my new e-book “Inner Circle”! Good times!

Taste of Cuba on 2.1.2011

Thanks for posting this, and for the pictures. I’m a diehard chai fan, looking forward to trying this out.

Zeshan on 2.1.2011

I LOVE YOU, no seriously,
Ive been trying forever to make my own and could not get the right ratio. I havent tried the honey, brown sugar, orange zest and vanilla ingredients but that must be key :) IM SO GLAD I FOUND THIS YUM!

Merc on 1.31.2011

That looks SO tasty. Off to the store tomorrow to get ingredients to try it.


Brett on 1.27.2011

I love this! My friend and I are gonna make a day out of it and make a ton :)

Question. Lets say we make a ton of it but don’t drink or use it all. Can we store just the concentrate (So before we add milk) in the fridge or something?

I do’nt wanna have to go through this process all the time everytime. Please e-mail me at [email protected]

Diedra on 1.27.2011

Have made this so many times the store is out of some spices. lol
Viraj Chouhan, thank you for sharing your Grandma’s recipe. Now to find some Holy Basil. May have to grow my own. I think I have some seeds in the garden cart.

Eirle on 1.27.2011

I made this last night and I’m in heaven!! I did reduce the sugar a bit and added an extra cinnamon stick.

I’m going to try freezing this in ice cube trays so that I can just add a couple of cubes to milk and microwave for instant chai!

ALfie on 1.27.2011

Sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to try it. And this cold snowy day is the perfect time.

Viraj Chouhan on 1.27.2011

Damn cool recipe which was around in India for a long long time. But here’s the original which my grandmother would make(best masala chai in the world).

The one given above works on tea bags, this one is for those who use tea leaves to brew their chai. This is the way we make tea here in the third world.

How to brew Cutting Chai:

1. The precursor to the whole process is simply grinding all the ingredients given above, except for the Orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla and the honey(you can’t really grind honey, but you get what I mean).

What you get now is a nice spicy smelling powder, which gets included in the rest of the chai making process.

2. Take a cup of water, put it up on the stove and wait for it to heat up a little.

3. Before it starts boiling, bring the flame down to a simmer and add tea leaves according to your taste.

3. As the tea leaves start releasing color, wait for the water to turn a nice dark brown and switch off the gas, add the spice powder we made earlier and throw in the secret ingredient: Tulsi leaves(Holy Basil).

4. The boiling water will bring the flavor out of the spices and the tulsi, leave it like that for about 30 seconds.

5. Relight the gas and now add a cup of milk to the pot (remember the milk and water should be in equal parts). Bring the flame to medium.

6. The tea will take a nice light brown color. Wait for the tea to boil and rise.

7. Turn off the stove, strain the chai into 2 cups.

8. Find a good book, a cozy corner and a sweet person to share it with.

If you tried this and liked it, don’t thank me… Thank my grandma :)

Crowley on 1.26.2011

Made this recipe this morning. It is fantastic! I used Choice organic black tea. (Indian acquaintances like Brook Bond Red Label black tea as their basic, go-to black tea.) I cut back the sugar to 1/2 cup and would cut it back a little more next time. Also, I would add more ginger, but I like my chai on the spicy side. Thanks for sharing this recipe. With my husband’s new espresso maker, I even get real steamed milk for my homemade chai!

Deb on 1.25.2011

Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I just made your recipe and would like to respectfully make a few comments. I used P&G Tips tea because it is strong black tea. No other grocery store tea is this strong. I used whole cardamom pods, and thusly had to smash them to release the flavor in the seeds. I also bloomed my whole spices in a skillet to release their flavor, as done in India.

My only objection, and it not to your recipe, is that this is not less expensive. Whole spices, even in Indian markets, are not inexpensive. Cardomom is the dearest and MUST be used to make Chai. I added up my ingredients and found that this cost about $15.00 to make at home. For someone who is relegated to supermarket shopping, instead of ethnic markets, the cardamom alone would cost that. Pacific Chai is $3.49 at Walmart. This is superior in flavor, but not more economical.

david benjamins on 1.25.2011

Awesome! My fiancée loves Chai this is the perfect gift. Just one question please answer!!!: what type of tea bags did u use?

sarahworldcook on 1.24.2011

What a great idea to make up a concentrate! Looking forward to trying this. I also really like your site. Keep it up!

Cynthia on 1.24.2011

This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. May I find out where to store the concentrate, how long it can be stored, and how much of the concentrate do I add to a cup of steamed milk?

Gemfyre on 1.24.2011

This is amazing! A great way to use up all those teabags I have hanging around the house. Next time I’ll attempt a green tea chai. :)

It’s a bit too sweet, I think next time I’ll put in less sugar and see how I go.

Vicki (piggledy) on 1.22.2011

This concentrate looks great! For those who find the spices expensive, try to find an Asian market – we have lots of them in the Portland area – you’ll find you get a big bag of star anise, for example, for much less than the tiny jar you buy in a mainstream grocery. Those stores are the only place I will buy things such as star anise, fennel, five spice powder, szechuan pepper, sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, and many others. You could probably spend about $5 or 10 on spices there and have enough for months and months – not a bad place to buy your tea, either! I’m terrible, tho, at making something like this, and forgetting about it, only to find it moldy in the back of the fridge. Ice cube trays are my salvation for things like this, because when it occurs to me that I want some, it will be much fresher than if it had been in the fridge for a month or so! For less habitual chai drinkers, like me, this may be helpful to you, too. Just pop the ice cubes into a ziplock, and don’t forget to put them back in the freezer! love, piggledy

alman on 1.21.2011

mmmm… amazing I need to make it like you

updated24h on 1.21.2011

I love chai and have made my own concentrate a few times. This recipe sounds super yummy and I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for sharing…..

Natalie on 1.20.2011

On the recipe page, it says to steep the tea and spices, THEN add the sugar, honey, and vanilla; on the demo picture page, though, you steep it all together. Which is it?

RosiePosie on 1.20.2011

Made it and YUM! Used ground nutmeg and ground cardamom (whole was too pricey). Worked out fine IMHO. Just make sure to finely strain out those little pieces (or you get a mouthful of grit). I have mine in a mason jar in the fridge just waiting for that quiet time and good book. Just seeing that jar of goodness sitting in the fridge makes my heart happy. Thanks so very much for sharing this recipe/tutorial!

Profile photo of Maggie (Vittles & Bits)

Maggie (Vittles & Bits) on 1.19.2011

This is awesome! I love iced chai lattes & I’ve been buying Oregon Chai’s slightly sweet concentrate – I never knew I could make it myself! Thanks for sharing!

RagingR2 on 1.19.2011

This looks kinda good and sounds fun to make. Not to be a nitpicker however, but anyone who has ever drunk real chai in India knows that it’s supposed to be extremely sweet ;) The standard chai is just strong tea with a lot of milk, sugar and cinnamon.
I can fully imagine that you don’t really like that though. ;)

Lisa on 1.19.2011

After turning myself and now my mother into Chai’holics, and buying the concentrate at Costco for years. I recently learned that all of the Costco’s in the Bay Area will no longer be stocking my Tazo Concentrate. So a few google searches and here I am…. thank you for the post and comments. Making my own will undoubtedly be less costly than buying it and probably much greener considering I won’t have a recycle bin full of empty cartons.

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Eat 2gather on 1.19.2011

Wondering how to store this, does it need to be refrigerated? And how long is shelf life? Looks amazing can’t wait to try it.

Joseph on 1.19.2011

This looks great, and you’re right it looks very much manageable for just about anyone I would think. Kudos on this post, thanks!

Jen D. on 1.18.2011

I read that:

1/6 tsp or ground cardamom equals roughly one pod, so I used 1tsp and a shake or two.

1/4 tsp ground ginger equals 1 tsp fresh grated, so I used about 1/2 tsp. I’d probably knock it back a tad next time.

1/4 tsp ground cloves equals roughly 3 cloves, so I used 3/4 tsp and a couple of shakes.

Straining with quadruple layered cheesecloth really helped. :)

kelly on 1.18.2011

I also only have ground ginger and cardamom – how much of each did you all use?

Jen D. on 1.18.2011

Yay! Glad to see someone used ground spices and it came out ok. I think I’ll do that and try straining a second time with cheesecloth. *off to the stove*

Rebecca Hemphill on 1.18.2011

I love chai. Can’t wait to try. Thanks for posting the recipe.

VMAT on 1.18.2011

I’ve been making chai for years using a samovar I bought in the East. Another method I use is the double teapot, top pot housing the chai concentrate and the lower pot the hot water.
I like THIS recipe and method so much! It allows more flexibilty in flavourings and in time of consumption. Bravo thecatnipcat !!

Barbara Anne on 1.17.2011

Just finished my second batch (in 2 days… we scarfed it!) and it is SO yummy!

I only had ground ginger and cardamon in the house, so in it went. Was a little more difficult to strain as it clogged my strainer, but tasted wonderful. For me, it needs more cinnamon, so I am playing with that, but honestly need to update that spice, they been around too long.

I get my spices from my local health food store. Best price around and great quality.

I used 1/3 cup Splenda and need to add a little less next time.

maggie RN on 1.17.2011

I just made this…it is AMAZING!!! Not being able to tolerate caffeine after 12 noon (yes, I am old!!) I have had to limit my intake of Chai Tea. I made mine with decaf tea, now I can have it whenever I want!!! I am now on the way for more star anise. After the initial outlay for the spices, I understand better why it is so expensive…wow. But it will make several batches.

Julia on 1.17.2011

This looks FABULOUS! Cheaper, yummer and missing all of the nasty chemicals found in most store bought concentrates! One question though… how long do you think this would last in the fridge once it is made? I am new to the tea scene… especially chai… feeling dumb, but I thought it was worth asking!


julia on 1.17.2011

This is just what i’ve been looking for. I’ve been making a medium batch of chai almost every morning – with soy milk :)
I love tweeking and playing with the spice ratio – I’ve never tried it with orange zest and anise.

Hopefully with the concentrated version I’ll be able to make one batch on the weekend that’ll last us the whole week :)


Maram on 1.17.2011

Really Thank u for this recipe, I tried it once i read it because i felt so eager to try this combination of amazing flavors , its soo delicious

Bob Francis on 1.16.2011

My dad loves Chai but we never thought of making it ourselves. This looks like a fairly straight forward recipe. Thanks!

Jen D. on 1.16.2011

I so want to make this right now, but I only have ground ginger and cardamom (I have everything else). Can is use the ground spices or would they be too strong?

Jennifer on 1.16.2011

thank you so much for this! I moved to Europe last year and the ONE thing I really miss from home is chai tea. I can find the tea bags here but it’s just not the same. Can’t wait to try this recipe!