Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chai Tea Concentrate (Take 1)

While creeping other blogs, I came across this recipe and stopped dead in my tracks. They have a point. Why pay $4 and change for cold chai tea concentrate to be heated with frothed milk when you can make it yourself for less than $2.80 (that's the exact price I paid, excluding the milk, for all the spices with plenty leftover to make more)?  I do have some trepadation as I am a bit of a tea snob when it comes to Chai and really only prefer one brand, but trying new things never hurt anyone right?
Here's the recipe (From A Crafty Lass): Note: This isn't the recipe I eluded to in my previous post. For whatever reason my browser wouldn't open that page when I wanted to make it so I went with this one instead.

For about 3 cups of concentrate:
  • 3½ cups water
  • ½ cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 star anise
  • ¼ teaspoon anise seeds
  • 8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced (there's no need to peel it)
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4 bags Darjeeling tea
Combine all the ingredients except the tea in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to strongly simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Add the teabags, cover the pan again, and steep for 20 minutes more.
Strain the concentrate into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for about a week.

It was super easy to make and did smell amazing. If you're not a huge anise fan, you may want to cut back on it as the anise scent was quite strong. The yield was about 2 cups but that was probably my fault. I was simmering it a little harder than I was supposed to (I blame the Dexter episode I was watching at the same time - oops).
As for the taste test? I just filled a mug a third of the way with the concentrate, topped off the rest with milk and threw it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I don't know why I'm so surprised, but it tastes pretty good. A little too anise-y for my liking but not so powerful that I won't finish it (I'll just know for next time) and it's pretty sweet, which isn't all bad but I won't add as much concentrate to my next mug full (and possibly reduce the amount of honey in the next batch).
I think I may just be converted...

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