What is chai concentrate?
Chai is tea in India and is very popular in South Asian countries. Also called masala chai, it is made with spices and black tea. The word chai means tea and masala means spices. In the US, it is widely popular as chai tea latte (which actually means tea tea latte!)
Making and storing tea concentrate is not common in India and the traditional chai is freshly brewed every time. However, tea concentrates are widely popular in the US and are sold at most grocery stores. This concentrate is used not just for making chai lattes, but also to make several other beverages and cocktails.
English breakfast tea (or just breakfast tea) is a blend of black tea from Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya. This blend of black tea is very common in British and Irish tea culture. Chai concentrate is basically steeped tea made with Indian black tea leaves and aromatic spices. It is sweetened with a sweetener of choice and is used to make tea latte by diluting it with the milk of your choice.
This popular concentrate is used in Starbucks to make many drinks like Starbucks chai tea latte and iced chai tea latte. While Starbucks chai concentrate is not available in stores, there are several brands of concentrate widely available in supermarkets.
But making the concentrate at home is very easy and more budget-friendly. Unlike the store-bought ones, it can be customized to your personal preference by changing the spices and controlling the amount of sugar.
Once you start making your own chai concentrate, you will stop buying from your local grocery store. Make tasty chai ready in a jiffy without having to spend time in the kitchen or taking a trip to Starbucks or your local coffee shop. Sit back with a good book and enjoy a cup of hot chai on cold winter days!
There are so many ways of using this tea concentrate and it can be stored either in the fridge or in the freezer. Make this a fridge staple for the winter and enjoy a warm cup of tea in no time.
Similar to the masala chai syrup, this concentrate is used to make several beverages but the concentrate has more traditional flavors. The syrup works better if you are planning to make baked goods with chai flavor.
This concentrate is also great as a gift this holiday season. Bottle it up and write instructions on how to use it for a unique gift for family and friends. This recipe is perfect if you and your family is a chai lover.
Read on for ingredients, instructions, tips on storage, and how to use this homemade masala chai concentrate and enjoy a hot cup of homemade chai tea in no time. Also, check out this masala chai recipe.
The ingredients are similar to masala chai except there is no milk used at this stage.
Black tea: Assam tea is the most common variety. There are several brands of Indian tea that are easily available in any Indian grocery store or online store.
Whole spices: The spices I use are cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, clove, fennel seeds, and black peppercorns. I also use fresh ginger.
Sweetener: Sugar is the most common sweetener used. Other sweeteners that can be used are maple syrup and brown sugar.
In a mortar pestle, add star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Crush them lightly.
Take the crushed spice mixture and ginger in a saucepan and add 5 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add black tea powder and sugar.
Let the tea steep for another 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Strain the tea concentrate by passing it through a sieve.
How to use chai concentrate
The most common ratio used for chai concentrate-to-milk is 1:1. However, you can adjust this as per your preference. Add more concentrate for a stronger tea flavor and more milk for a subtle tea flavor. Apart from the classic masala chai tea, here are some more easy ways to use this concentrate.
Masala Chai latte: Take equal parts of concentrate and milk. Heat the concentrate until it is warm and bring milk to a boil. Pour concentrate into a cup and add hot milk. Top it with milk foam and enjoy hot chai latte.
Vegan chai: Replace regular milk with dairy-free milk. Oat milk and almond milk work well. It is important not to boil vegan milk. Heat it until it is warm. Heat the concentrate until it is warm and add to a serving cup. Top with warm vegan milk and enjoy.
Iced chai tea latte: Iced latte is a great way of enjoying chai tea in summer. Take ice cubes in a serving glass, and add chilled concentrate. Top it with whole milk and enjoy. Use plant-based milk to make a vegan iced chai latte.
Chai ice cubes: Store the concentrate in ice cube trays. Add chai ice cubes to a glass of cold milk and enjoy it during hot summer days.
Dirty chai latte: Make chai latte as mentioned above and add one shot of espresso before topping it with milk foam to enjoy dirty chai latte.
Chai creme frappuccino: Add the concentrate, whole milk, and crushed iced to a serving glass. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Use a 2:1 ratio of concentrate to milk for the best-tasting frappuccino.
Vanilla chai tea: Follow this easy recipe and add one vanilla bean (cut it in half) along with spices and ginger when you are making the concentrate.
Orange tea: Follow this recipe and add one tablespoon of orange peel along with spices and ginger when you are making the concentrate to give it a nice refreshing citrus taste.
This recipe makes 4 cups of concentrate, which can be stored for up to one week in the refrigerator. You can half or double the recipe as needed.
It is best to use whole spices that are crushed lightly to make the concentrate. Powdered spices will not strain fully. Whole spices can be strained easily and they also give a perfectly balanced flavor to the tea.
Adjust the spices as per your liking.
Use loose leaf tea where possible instead of black tea bags. All Indian stores sell many brands of loose Assam tea which is perfect for making chai.
For every cup of water, use one teaspoon of tea powder. In this recipe, I am using 5 cups of water and 5 teaspoons of Assam tea. If you want to use tea bags, use 5 black tea bags for this recipe.
As an optional step, you can dry roast the spices for 1-2 minutes. This will help release their oils and add extra flavor.
Use tea leaves that are of high quality or organic black tea where possible to make the best-tasting concentrate.
You can skip the sugar to make unsweetened concentrate.
This concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Cool it completely before storing it. Also, make sure the bottle or mason jar is clean and dry before storing it.
You can also freeze the concentrate to increase its shelf life. Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and flash freeze. Take them out once they are set and store them in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
This chai concentrate recipe is:
- fully customizable as per liking,
- perfect to control the amount and type of sweetener,
- very versatile and can be used in so many ways.
Homemade Chai Concentrate
- 5 teaspoon black tea I use Assam tea
- 5 cups water
- 2-3 inch ginger (one thumb)
- 5 teaspoon sugar adjust as per taste
- 1 star anise
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 4 clove
- 10 pods cardamom
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a mortar pestle, add star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Crush them lightly.
- Take the crushed spices and ginger in a saucepan. Add 5 cups of water.
- Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add sugar and tea powder. Let the tea steep for another 4-5 minutes. Do not simmer for too long as this will make the concentrate bitter.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea concentrate by passing it through a sieve.
- Let it cool completely before storing.