Skip the premade mixes overloaded with sugar or the long line at the coffee shop. This concentrate, made with the simplest ingredients, yields a fragrant and balanced cup right at home. Toasting the spices amps up their warm flavor, while steeping the brew builds depth. If you're craving an extra dose of caffeine at breakfast, stir in some freshly brewed coffee or a shot of espresso. Reach for this homemade chai to warm you up from the inside out all season long.
30 black peppercorns
20 cardamom pods
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
1 3-in. piece fresh ginger, sliced
4 black tea bags (such as English Breakfast)
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dairy, seed, or nut milk or water, for serving
How to Make It
Crush peppercorns, cardamom, and cloves with the back of a knife or a mortar and pestle.
Toast crushed spices with fennel seeds in a large saucepan over medium, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 cups water and ginger and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, gently squeezing to release excess water; discard bags.
Stir in honey and vanilla and let stand for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids.
Mix 1 part milk with 1½ parts concentrate. Serve hot or cold. Concentrate keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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