Have you ever had the experience of tasting a dish or drink, that you’ve had many times before, in a completely foreign location and suddenly you’re seeing it in a whole new light? I had that with the most wonderful cup of chai tea not too long ago, on a trip to the island of Bali. We were staying in Canggu, on the East side of the island and on one of our walk about days past the rice paddies, we discovered an idyllically zen coffee shop filled with aroma and art.
Over the course of our stay I had many delicious coffees there, but decided on one afternoon to opt for chai tea. I can’t say whether it was the lazy heat, the dust on my sandals or the salty water still clinging to my hair that made this chai latte taste so extraordinary — a sweet and frothy blend of restorative spices — but I’ve been searching for the perfect way to recreate that experience ever since. None of the ready made mixes seemed to contain the same authentic flavour — but this recipe, this is how I find my way back to Bali, again and again and with it all the magic it held.
To make replenishing your cupboard for chai tea spices easier, everything you need for this recipe comes in the Jimmy Public Chai Tea Spice Bundle, so you don’t have to remember which ones to order. Here’s a simple to follow recipe for how to make chai tea, whenever you need a soothing, healthy adventure.
Serves: 4 | Prep: 5 mins | Cook: 10 mins
4 cups water
8 whole cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 pieces star anise
1 piece allspice
½ tsp black peppercorns
Milk (amount for your taste preference)
2 tsp black tea leaves (or use 2 good quality tea bags)
Honey, to taste
Muslin cloth, to make into bags (optional)
How to make chai tea:
1. Place the spices for chai tea in the centre of a small square of muslin cloth and use some string to tie it together, forming a medium sized spice bundle (alternatively don’t use bags and just mix the spices in with the water).
2. In a saucepan, bring the cups of water to simmering with your spice bundle or loose spices in it. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and tea leaves. You can either use loose leaf tea, or simply pop in two good quality tea bags (rooibos is also nice).
3. Place the pan with your milk added back on a very low heat and simmer for a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes for the flavours to develop. If you made your chai with the spices added in direct you’ll need to strain them now by pouring the tea mixture through a sieve.
4. Stir in honey, a teaspoon at a time, to taste, and serve.
This recipe makes enough to serve four, so either make it with friends, or pour what you won’t be drinking into a flask — you can reheat it at a later stage. For an extra decadent cup — or to turn your chai tea into a chai latte, froth some additional milk and top up your hot beverage.