Although this is not strictly a holiday type tea, chai is so chock full of those rich spices synonymous with the season that it makes the perfect gift for your favorite tea lover. The trick to any good homemade chai is to go easy on the cardamom and don't forget the peppercorns--they add a nice spicy kick that balances out the sweetness of the cardamom. I like a lot of spices in my blend, especially cinnamon, so you'll notice that I gave a range of how much to add.
I would also go easy on the clove buds though as they can pack a serious punch. If you want a decaf version of this blend, simply swap the black tea with a quality rooibos. Make sure to brew this loosely in a teapot or a big strainer--you want the hot water to circulate around the spices to really get maximum flavor. Sounds OCD, I know, but if the leaves and spices are too tightly packed, they can't steep properly. I've also been known to put equal parts milk and water in a saucepan along with my chai tea to brew--delicious! I don't add sugar to my chai but feel free to doctor up your own mug just as you like it. Sometimes I do throw in a pinch of stevia leaf or my stevia simple syrup to add some sweetness without the sugar, but I don't think it's necessary to enjoy this spicy brew.
1 cup Assam black tea
1/2 to 1 cup cinnamon chips
1/4 to 1/3 cup pink peppercorns
1/4 cup dried ginger
1/4 cup cardamom
1/8 cup clove buds
Blend ingredients and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Make about 2 cups. To brew, add 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces boiling water (you need your tea this hot to open up the spices). Add sugar and milk if desired, although it is delicious on its own. Enjoy!
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