I make a chai base that hangs out in the refrigerator for a few days so I can easily make a cup when the urge strikes me.
Use a medium-sized saucepan.
Two cinnamon sticks
Five whole cloves
Five to seven black peppercorns (yes!)
An inch of fresh ginger, sliced. You don’t have to peel it.
Four to six cardamom pods. I smash them with a mortar and pestel beforehand
If I have star anise, I’ll toss one in.
Simmer in about a quart of water for 15-30 minutes. It will smell wonderful. Evaporation happens, though, and be mindful of how much chai base you want to have.
Take it off the heat and toss in 3-5 black tea bags. I used decaf so I add five. Steep for 3-5 minutes, then pull out the tea bags. Strain the remainder into a jar and refrigerate.
When you want a cup of chai, warm your milk of choice with an equal measure of chai base. I use the stovetop for this, mostly because the aroma is so delightful. Pour into your cup, drizzle with honey or other sweetner, and enjoy!
This is my favourite winter warmer.