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After having a cup of Chai Tea Latte from Starbuck,I decided to make a cup of Chai Tea Latte by myself.

I've bought the spice from India store, however, they are not in powder simply because they don't have label on the powder so I can't identify them. However, I recognized their original shape so I bought them in the raw shape.

I don't have a grinder or mortar/pestle. I really don't want to buy them for occasional drink.

Is it common way to put the spice directly into the boiling water without grinding them into powder?

Below is the recipe:

I got cinnamon stick, cardamom pods (green cardamom) and cloves in raw shape. enter image description here

1 1/2 cups of water

1 1/2 inch stick of cinnamon

8 cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

1/4 inch fresh ginger root (sliced thin)

2/3 cup of milk

6 teaspoons sugar

3 teaspoons of Darjeeling Tea leaves

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I don't know how you plan to brew it, but may I suggest after brewing the tea, you add milk and let it boil for a bit before straining? (if that's not what you plan to do already). That will taste infinitely better than adding cold milk to the brew. –  Dharini Chandrasekaran Jun 19 '12 at 17:19
    
I thought you should add the milk, then add the tea leave and let the tea boil within them? You seems to suggesting adding the milk after brewing the tea. –  lamwaiman1988 Jun 20 '12 at 1:50
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What you say is one way to do it (I like that method, it makes for a much thicker chai than Starbucks) but what lots of people do is boil the tea leaves in water and then add milk. In the latter case, it would be better if the milk boiled with the tea as well. –  Dharini Chandrasekaran Jun 20 '12 at 3:11
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@DhariniChandrasekaran It seems the "add tea leaves after milk" method is not good......it just got very milky but not enough tea favour. –  lamwaiman1988 Jul 26 '12 at 2:08
    
Depends on how strong you like the tea. If you want more concentrated tea flavor, boil the tea leaves in water and then add milk per above. Also, you can try adding more tea leaves and/or boiling it for longer. –  Dharini Chandrasekaran Jul 26 '12 at 6:16
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The way we make Chai in India ( there are lots of variants of the spice mix) is to use the spices whole while brewing the tea and to strain the tea before drinking.

Though for cardomom you should crush it to release the flavor. I would suggest using your hand or the broad side of your knife blade.

If you decide to use ginger, it might be a good idea to grate it to increase the surface area so that the flavor is absorbed quicker. (Ginger chai is really good in winter :))

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I can't speak for science, or the "right" way to do this, but I've always just thrown whole spices right into my tea. You should probably strain it before you drink it, though.

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I used to do it by throwing handfuls of whole spices into the mix, but I've tried it by grinding it all to powder first in a coffee mill, and the taste is A LOT stronger if you grind everything before steeping it. It also tastes a lot better if you use half and half rather than milk, although that's less healthy. Whole milk would probably also serve that purpose. Grinding also allows you to use less spices, in case convenience or cost are considerations. My recipe calls for using allspice, anise, a bay leaf, peppercorns, and nutmeg (along with the spices your recipe uses). I've never had Starbucks version, or any other company's version, so I have no idea what it's "supposed" to taste like. I do know that all of these spices are antioxidants. I also sweeten mine with either liquid or powdered honey. Since Walmart sells giant tins of the powdered stuff, that's usually what I'll use. I also know that I've never come across any tea bags that come anywhere near the flavor you get from making this from scratch. All of the so-called chai teabags I've ever used basically just taste like weakly flavored black tea.

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