Masala Chai Instructions for Holiday Gifts, 2019

Hello Family and Friends,

You are here because I have given you the ingredients to make the chai that I have spent many years developing (25 years!). Though you have the ingredients, the method of brewing is also very important. The tea satchels that you have contain whole spices and ground spices, which require more attention than just steeping in hot water. Though the method is more involved, I think that you will be satisfied with the outcome. I tested this method and it is the easiest way to get the best flavor outside of crushing the spices and straining the brew yourself.

My chai adventure began with a recipe my friend, poet and professor Bhanu Kapil gave to me in 1994. Though my tea is very different from the basic recipe that her mother used, I like to honor that gift whenever I can. In addition, the best chai I have tasted came from a restaurant I worked, in Downtown Denver when I had been taking a break from my University studies, around the same time.

You have one jar of chai spices, and one jar of Lipton black tea.

1 serving = 1 chai spice satchel + 2 black tea bags

The Black Tea

Lipton tea is typically orange pekoe black tea, which is actually grown and harvested in India. Orange pekoe is my choice for my chai, though other black teas can be used. Bhanu had suggested darjeeling.

The Spices

Green cardamom pods, crushed

Black cardamom pods, crushed

Cinnamon sticks, sometimes crushed

Fennel seeds

Ginger powder

Ground nutmeg

Ground all-spice

Black pepper

Whole cloves

The Method

Boil 14 ounces of water (prefer distilled, fresh spring, or non-chlorinated waters – do what you can) in a medium sauce pan. [If making two servings at a time, start with 28 ounces]

Once boiling, add the chai spice packet and allow to simmer for 13 minutes [15 minutes for 2 servings]. Occasionally, “dap” the packet with a wooden spoon; try to promote water movement through the packet while brewing the spices. During this process, the water will be reduced – this is normal and expected.

Bring the tea to a rolling boil and add the two black tea bags [4 tea bags for 2 servings]. This is vital: Brew the black tea for only 2 minutes, at a rolling boil, while promoting water movement through the bags by dragging them through the water and “dapping” them with the wooden spoon. Immediately remove the tea bags and squeeze them to drain the water from the tea bags as much as possible.

Reduce the heat again so that the tea is just simmering.

Add a tablespoon of sugar and stir to dissolve.

Add half-and-half, or heavy cream to the color of orange-tinged cream.

Remove chai spice packet and squeeze to allow the water to be strained from the packet.

Pour the tea into your drinking cup.