Part 3 of the DIY Christmas is how to make your own Chai Tea. If you’ve never had it, chai is a spice blend that’s added to black tea. “Chai” means tea, so this type of tea with spices is technically known as “Masala Chai”. It’s a staple drink in India, and at Starbucks. It’s also ridiculously easy to make, tastes delicious, and makes a great stocking stuffer. This makes a lot of tea, and you can store it in an resealable, airtight jar if you’re going to use it yourself. You guys would not believe how good my clothes smell right now just from making this. I smell like Christmas.
These spices are sometimes available at a regular grocery store, but they’re expensive. If you have an Indian grocery store nearby, they will sell them in bulk, and be WAAAAAY cheaper.
Step 1: Crush the Spices
Using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, crush the cinnamon sticks into 1cm chunks. You will also want to crack the cardamom pods (and peppercorns/anice, if you’re using it) until the seeds are visible in all the pods. Don’t use the coffee grinder on the cardamom, or you will grind them too small.
Step 2: Roast the Spices
Take all of the spices, except the tea and ginger, and put it in a frying pan. Turn the burner to medium, and slowly roast the spices for about 2 minutes, until you see them start to smoke a little. Stir them gently while roasting, then take them off the heat.
Step 3: Grind the spices
Put the spices back into the coffee grinder, and grind them until they’re about the size of the loose tea. You don’t want them to be a fine powder, or you won’t be able to strain them off the tea, but the pieces should be pretty small so you don’t have any big chunks of a particular spice – making the flavour more even. Grind in small batches, or you end up with half powder, and half large chunks. If you’re adding ginger, it’s best to cut it into small pieces, as it can gunk up the grinder.
Step 4: Mix it together
Mix all the spices with the loose tea, and blend together so everything is evenly distributed. You can seal this in a container, or give it as a gift. Make sure you put it in an airtight container, or you will lose a lot of the flavour of the tea.
How to actually make the tea (print these instructions if you’re giving these away):