Spice tea “Chai” concentrate

I grew up in a family where tea (شاي pronounced shai in arabic) is the official drink. It is there at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is there with the afternoon snacks, when friends come over and when you need a pick me up drink. Tea is there with a little honey when you have a sore throat, a headache or when your stomach is acting up. It is the perfect companion for a good book, the perfect way to start the day and the perfect way to end it 🙂
As a kid, black tea was the standard. It was always served hot with some mint or sage. It was later on as I grew older that I started to explore other types of tea, green, white, flavored or infused. I have seasonal favorites, morrocan mint green tea being on top of that list, Earl Gray and jasmine are on that list too but I always come back to a perfectly brewed cup of black tea.
One summer, one of my mum’s best friends introduced me to Adani tea  شاي عدني which is a popular drink served in Yemen. It is basically a blend of spices that is boiled with tea and milk to yield an aromatic and refreshing drink. The spice blends vary with key players like cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. I know the idea of a hot drink that is composed of milk, spices and tea might sound odd but this is one drink that you have to try to appreciate and trust me when you do, you will not only appreciate it, you will fall in love with it down to the very last drop. That is why when I saw this recipe for a spicy Chai concentrate on Victoria’s blog , I could not wait to give it a try and it did not disappoint.
This spice tea concentrate became a staple in my fridge. I like it hot, diluted with some water. Cold with some milk or almond milk. Pulsed with some crushed ice for a perfect cooling treat. You can play around with the spices and flavors
 

Chai Concentrate

(Recipe adapted from here)
5 cups water
10 teabags of black  (I used English Breakfast Tea)
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 inches fresh ginger, cut into slices
peel of 1 orange (the colored part only)
10 cloves
8 cardamom pods slightly crushed
3 star anise
10 allspice berries
10 black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the water,spices and tea in a pot and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Bring to a boil
Lower heat and cover the pot then simmer gently for 20 minutes.
 Remove from heat and add honey and vanilla.
Allow to cool.
Strain and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar.

Notes:

The honey and vanilla are optional additions. you can omit them but they do add a pleasant flavor.

Due to the 20 minutes simmer the recipe requires, there is a slight bitter taste, I added 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to counter the bitterness

If you are not familiar with star anaise taste or not very fond of it, make the recipe without it. My husband likes it better without the anaise.

Play around with the spices,add more of the ones you like and less of the ones you are not too fond of

If you like tea as much as I do, you may also enjoy:

Thinking outside the cup..cooking with tea

a year ago on chef in disguise

Red garlic chicken

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