Chai Tea Concentrate
Perhaps this is stretching it, but I am rationalizing a Library connection with this post because, at the beginning of this year, the Teen Librarian Assistant gave me a recipe for homemade chai tea concentrate that she had come across in the paper.
I love chai but almost never go to coffee shops. This recipe is for a concentrate you can keep in your refrigerator for at least a week, warm up, and then mix with either warm milk or hot water. The nice thing about this recipe is the ability to customize it to your personal tastes. The very infrequent times I go to a coffee shop I ask them to do one-less pump with their own chai concentrate because it is inevitably way too sweet. This concentrate can be as spicy and un-sweet as I want, which makes it – though not necessarily good for anyone else – perfect for me!
The pictures are from the very first time I made the concentrate; I did not have enough Agave nectar, so I added maple sugar and boiled cider. I also didn’t have any Earl Grey Tea, so I mixed some black teas together: Crème Brulee, Constant Comment, and English Breakfast Tea. When I finally tasted it with warm milk, I realized that 2 tablespoons of molasses was way too much for me, though it did help give it a nice bite – something I realized when I reduced the molasses too much on my second batch. After four different variations, I have finally come up with a recipe that works best for me.
Another thing I learned that doesn’t show up in the pictures is to line my fine-strainer with 4-ply cheesecloth to ensure it is very well strained and to avoid getting ‘sludge’ in the concentrate. You can see some floaters in my mug in the last photo! (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)
When serving: for best results, shake the concentrate well; heat your proportions of the concentrate and the milk together, slowly, in a pan on your stovetop, stirring frequently. When I am in a hurry, I microwave the concentrate until it's quite hot and then just pour cold milk into it.
Take a look at the recipe attached at the end of this post; it includes the original recipe and my own recipe. I don't like sweet very much at all and prefer spicy, so you may need to add quite a bit of sweetener as you develop it to your own liking. I wish I would have remembered to time the whole process, because people have asked since I first posted this. I would guess 35 minutes, tops, from getting out all the ingredients to adding the final sweetener(s) and serving.
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