Can I brew Chai at home?
Many people ask me - How do I brew Chai Tea? There are a variety of ways you can brew your chai. Below are a few suggestions for you. The method you choose will be dependant on the amount of time you have and the availability of brewing accessories. That being said, there are a few tips that no matter how you brew - you need to keep them in mind.
Firstly, Chai is generally a mixture of Chai spices and tea and in the case of our blends it has already been infused with a gorgeous locally supplied raw honey. When brewing any tea, it always takes time. To achieve the proper extraction of tannins from your tea it firstly needs to spend time in hot water - they say the hotter the water the more tannin is extracted. Tannin is what makes the tea astringent - so it's time in the water where this flavour is developed to your individual tastes. Some like it stronger than others.
Secondly it's important to note that as soon as a protein is then added - as in the milk of your choice - its slows down the tannin extraction by binding with the tannin and helping to reduce bitterness.
So in essence, Chai needs time in water before the milk is added. Many cafes make the mistake of brewing on milk alone which leaves you with a lack lustre chai due to being under extracted.
Chai can also be brewed black. It is not necessary to use milk when brewing chai.
How to Brew Chai on a Stove top?
Cover the base of your Chai Pot with water. The ratio I prefer to use is about 1/3 water to 2/3 milk. Add 1 Tbsp (20gm) chai to the pot and bring to heat - this may take a couple of minutes depending on the type of pot you are using and how quickly it conducts heat. Its important not to boil your chai! Why? In our blends we have used organic spices which have some amazing health benefits. By boiling them they lose their efficacy and you are missing out on some incredible health benefits.
Next add milk of your choice. I get asked - What milk should I use when making chai? I use almond milk - in fact - I make my own when I have the time. It's cheap and fresh and adds a real creaminess but you can use whatever is your preference.
Now allow the chai to come to heat on the stove top - again - be careful not to boil. This will also take a minute or two.
Finally you can strain and serve. Go find a cosy spot and put your feet up - let the aromas curl up around you and enjoy a real chai, made with real ingredients.
Brewing without a stove top
The following information is if you don't want to brew on a stove top or you don't have one available - perhaps at work for example.
6OZ CUP - Add 20gm (heaped Tbsp) Chai to jug with approx 80 mls of hot water ( I use a small one person french press). Let this steep while you heat approx 100ml milk (either with the steam arm or in the microwave) Add the milk to the tea and let steep a further 2-3 minutes before straining and serving.
8OZ CUP - Add 25gm(1 1/2 Tbsp) of Chai to jug with approx 90 ml boiling water. Let steep while you heat 150 ml of milk (as above). Add hot milk to the tea and let steep a further 2-3 minutes before straining and serving
TEAPOT - 12OZ Add 2 heaped Tbsp of chai to strainer. Pour in 150ml boiling water. It's important to make sure the tea is sitting in the water at this point. Sometimes the strainers sit a bit high. (It's also my opinion that chai prefers to be packed loosely, so I am not a fan of the strainers where you pack it into a tight ball.) Heat 200ml of milk and add to the pot after it has steeped a bit. Leave it an additional 2-3 minutes and serve.