Making your own Chai Concentrate at home means you can make this warming spiced tea to suit your exact personal tastes and it’s far easier than you might think. Make sweetened or unsweetened and adjust the spices to your personal taste. Use any milk or non-dairy substitute you like and serve it hot or over ice.
Homemade Chai Concentrate. This recipe is nearly 7 years old, at this point, and it’s still a major favorite of mine. It’s so so easy to make and you can customize your own recipe to exactly what you are looking for in your chai. I like mine spicy, with a strong tea flavor and with a subtle sweetness, if any at all. I personally find the packaged chai concentrates from the grocery store and at most coffee shops to really lack that nice spiced flavor I love and many times they are just far too sweet for me. Most are loaded with preservatives and other less than desirable ingredients. Why though?
Chai is one of my favorite, comforting drinks to cozy up with, especially in the colder months. Plus, with the holidays upon us, it’s important to note that this is the perfect thoughtful handmade gift to bottle up and give to your chai-loving friends. Package with a cute label (FREE download included below for my printable labels you can easily customize) or label and enjoy the smiles and praise.
Years ago when I first developed this recipe I looked around and tested tons of different chai recipes and ultimately settled on creating this customized recipe based on my own personal favorite chai tastes. I have made it many times now to get it exactly how I wanted it. When I first started making my own chai, I generally opted for coconut sugar and a little quality raw honey in at the end. These days I am not much one for the sweet stuff, so I generally go without any sweetener at all or sometimes I add just a bit of raw honey at the end. Maple syrup would also likely be quite delicious, too. You can also stir in a little monk fruit or stevia, it’s truly up to you how you want to sweeten your custom chai concentrate or if you want to at all.
Much like the sweetness, the options to customize are up to you. Many chai recipes are made without black pepper at all and some with just a tad bit of ground pepper. I personally really love the spiciness from the pepper so I add in whole peppercorns. Leave out if that’s not your thing. I also really love the addition of orange zest and nutmeg in my chai. But what I really I love is that there are absolute no rules when making your own chai concentrate. Use this chai recipe as a guide, but tweak as you’d like and get the ratio of ingredients to your preference. Have fun with it.
You can serve your chai warm as a hot latte or cold as an iced latte. Either way, I go with a 1 to 1 mixture on the chai concentrate to a non-dairy milk. I prefer homemade almond or cashew milk, personally, but you could use regular milk or any other non-dairy milk. If you like your chai a bit less strong, use less tea bags, or mix 1 part concentrate to 3 parts milk instead of 1 or 2. Play around. If you are like me, after you make this once and take the first sip, you will be sure to always have a batch in the fridge.
If your finished, cooled chai is a bit more cloudy, note that nothing is wrong with it and it will taste just fine. This has to do with the natural oils and tannins in the tea (higher quality tea also generally has more tannins). They’ll create a cloudy finished product, if you don’t cool it to room temperature before refrigerating, as the tannins settle. It may also be your water, if it’s high in minerals, opt for a quality filtered water for a less cloudy tea. And sometimes, it just happens, even with cooling properly and quality water, so please note, regardless of the cause, cloudy tea may not be as pretty, but, it’s still perfectly fine to drink.
Gifting Your Chai
This Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate would make a lovely holiday gift in a mason jar with a cute tag, some ribbon or twine, etc. Another great gift idea would be to pre-mix all of the spices and place them with the tea bags into a cute little cheesecloth pouch for an adorable chai concentrate mix packet, so your recipient can make their concentrate whenever they wish, adding or taking away any spices of their choosing. You would just want to substitute dried ginger for fresh and skip the orange zest. And of course provide the recipient with the following instructions ::: To make your chai concentrate, place 4 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup coconut, date or raw cane or other granulated sugar in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and place the cheesecloth pouch in. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove the pouch, then stir in 1 tablespoon of honey (optional). Allow to cool before pouring it in an air tight container or jar and placing in the fridge to cool. Keeps up to 7 days. For a latte, hot or cold, mix one part concentrate to one part milk of your choice, warm up or serve over ice. :::
PS – I am loving the comments about using the concentrate in other things like baked goods or making a syrup from it. SO brilliant, I didn’t even think of that. Great ideas!
- 4½ cups water
- 8 organic black tea bags
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract added at the very end)
- ½ cup coconut sugar, date sugar or raw cane sugar (you can add more or less depending on how sweet you like your chai)
- 1 - 3-inch section of fresh ginger, cut into pieces
- 10 whole cloves
- 8 cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 whole star anise pods
- ½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon raw honey (optional, leave off to make vegan, if you want it to be sweeter without the honey, add a bit more sugar in at the beginning)
- 1 small square section of cheesecloth, approximately 6" square and/or good strainer
- kitchen twine, if using cheesecloth
- quart-sized glass bottle or jar
- Prepare the teabags by removing any tags if there are any and tying them all together. Prepare the spices, vanilla bean and orange zest by laying them in your cheesecloth, I leave my cinnamon sticks out to make the little pouch of spices a bit more compact. Tie the cheesecloth pouch shut with a small piece of kitchen twine. If you leave the cinnamon sticks out, just tie them together with kitchen twine.
- *If you don't wish to use cheesecloth, you will just add all of your spices directly to the pan when the time comes and strain them out after.
- Add the water and sugar to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and put in the tea bags, cheesecloth pouch and cinnamon sticks. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat strain the concentrate through a sieve or just remove the tea bags, cheesecloth pouch and cinnamon sticks. At this point if you want a bit more sweetness you can add a tablespoon of honey, stir to dissolve. I don't always do this, but it is a really nice touch. Additionally, if you didn't use a whole vanilla bean, add your vanilla extract now. Stir to combine.
- Allow the mixture to cool before pouring it into an airtight jar or container. This amount fits perfectly into a 1-quart mason jar. Be sure your tea is fully cooled before placing in the fridge. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- To serve, mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part milk of your choice. I personally love unsweeteened almond or cashew milk (you can even make your own). Heat for a warm beverage or serve over ice for a cold drink.
Bonus – Printable Labels:
Download a customizable version of these labels to print at home to give your bottle or jar of homemade Chai Concentrate an extra-special, personal touch! Print the PDF, simply write your name in under “by:”. That’s it. DOWNLOAD HERE.
Print these 2.5-inch diameter labels on any Avery brand 22808 template. I used these brown kraft paper labels.