I associate a warm cup of chai with happiness. Whether it's enjoying a cup on the couch with a good book; sipping some slowly at the end of a fun evening with my Pakistani family; enjoying some in a coffee shop whilst working on a blog post; or making some to serve for visitors at the farm– chai and its many unique flavors fill me up with contentment.
There are many ways to make chai. Some start by boiling ingredients sequentially, and others have strict rules about boiling it once, then letting it cool, boiling it twice, then letting it cool and boiling thrice and serving. The way that my family makes chai is relatively straightforward. We place all the ingredients in the pot with a touch of water and let them come to a slow boil. Then, we add the milk and stir until it turns a beautiful, rich color.
As I transitioned to the zero waste vegan lifestyle, I experimented with 'greenifying' my experience. It was easier than I imagined. Step one is to buy your spices in bulk. Step two is to buy your loose leaf black tea in bulk. Feel free to buy decaf black tea if you wish not to consume any caffeine! Step three is to make your own nut milk.
My favorite nut milk for this recipe is pea milk. Although I have yet to experience making this myself, I buy my nut milk in sustainable packaging that can be recycled or reused around the garden. Pea milk is creamy, high in protein and the taste is unique. Almond milk is another great alternative which you can easily make zero waste at home. Visit my almond milk recipe here.
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Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 5 minutes Yield: 3 cups
For the chai:
3/4 cup pea milk unsweetened
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. monk sugar, or your favorite sweetener
1 tsp. loose tea leaves
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chai masala depending on your spice preference, see recipe below
For the chai masala:
1 tbs crushed black peppercorn
3 tbs ginger powder (Volume: 1 cup + 8 Tbsp)
2 tbs finely ground cloves (or finely ground, same weight. Volume: 1/4 cup + 2 1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 tbs nutmeg
1 tbs ground cardamom
Pour all spices and tea into a (preferably spouted) saucepan with water. Place over medium heat. Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the tea. Next, add in your milk slowly. Stir the chai, scraping the bottom to avoid scalding the milk. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and stir well. Bring to a boil once again, turn off the heat and stir well. Allow to steep for a few minutes. This will allow your spices and tea to blend together. Make extra to last you the week! If you like a cinnamon essence to your chai, I encourage you to sprinkle some in. I personally do not like cinnamon in my chai as it overpowers the other flavors.