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I'm currently using the following recipe to make Chai lattes:

  • 12 oz vanilla soy milk
  • 6 oz water
  • 1+ tbsp chai mix (2.5 parts cinnamon, 1 part each of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger)
  • 2 bags English Breakfast black tea

Using the following instructions:

  1. Enclose Chai mix in paper coffee filter and tie with baking twine. Let soak in milk in fridge overnight.
  2. Let tea soak in water overnight.
  3. Bring tea to boil and simmer for a few minutes, then remove tea bag.
  4. Add milk + Chai, bring to boil and gently simmer for 10-20 min.
  5. When finished, serve with 1 tbsp maple syrup or as the heart guides, depending on how crummy the day is
  6. Set aside tea bag and Chai bag to reuse once the next day

I'd like to bring the Chai flavor out more. I've had limited success by simmering for longer with the lid over the mixture, but I'd like to go further. What adjustments can I use to make the Chai flavor stronger?

Edit: By "Chai flavor" I mean the flavor of the spices of the chai mix; cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. I want to make these taste stronger.

Step 1 and 2 are used in an attempt to let the tea and spices steep, and so extract flavor, in addition to when I boil them. This is intended to add extra flavor.

A subcomponent of my question might be phrased as: "are the spices in the Chai mix more water soluble or more fat soluble?" I've gotten conflicting information on past searches.

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    That may be a stupid question, but: Can you just use more spices? Are they reasonably fresh?
    – Stephie
    Apr 8, 2023 at 7:19
  • @Stephie I've tried 2x and 2.5x the amount of spices with minimal result. At present, I'm using pre-ground spices from the grocery store. Would grinding whole spices evoke more flavor? Apr 8, 2023 at 18:23
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    For pre-ground, you’ll notice a decline in flavor within just a few months, especially if the package is exposed to light, air or warm temperatures. Just compare a dash of ground black pepper from a pack and a few turns of a pepper mill. I would absolutely make sure that the spices are at least fresh and ideally grind before use. In other words, once the essential oils are gone, there’s not much you can still extract.
    – Stephie
    Apr 10, 2023 at 8:19

1 Answer 1

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What part of 'chai' are you actually trying to bring out?
Comments now say 'the spices'… which isn't the bit I'd have thought of.
Bear in mind 'chai' means 'tea', the rest is just like adding flavours to coffee - you make the coffee first, then add milk/sugar/syrup etc. You're probably doing it no favours by soaking it first.

Tea goes into boiling water to make it the 'indian way', it doesn't sit in milk for hours first.

Don't re-use tea. It gives everything in one go, just about.
Same as for a tea bag dunked in hot water, the longer you leave it the stronger it will get - to a point. Once it passes that point your only way to gain strength is use more tea.

Methodology - there seems to be no agreed method, but the one I've had thrust at me by people actually from Asia is…

Boil water.
Add spices.
Add tea.
Add milk & sweeteners.

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  • I've edited my original question for clarity. Let me know if I should add more. My goal isn't to make Chai "the Indian way", nor is it to follow a traditional recipe. I want to know how to get more flavor from the Chai spices, that's it. Are you suggesting that "cold brewing" the spices and tea is a detriment to the flavor? Apr 8, 2023 at 18:31
  • @Kronimiciad even if you aren’t specifically interested in making chai “the Indian way” perhaps that’s a good place to start? They are in fact known for doing a good job of it.
    – Sneftel
    Apr 8, 2023 at 18:45
  • @Sneftel I already started there. I settled this recipe after modifying a more traditional recipe to my tastes. The recipe I used did not bring out the flavor of the spices any more than the one I posted. I don't want a recipe with no context, I want to know what about a given recipe brings out the flavor of the spices, and how to replicate that. Apr 8, 2023 at 21:22
  • I've already done that. I removed the soaking, the influence [unknown] of non-dairy milk & promoted the spices to boiling on their own long before anything else goes in. You hadn't, in your initial question, actually told us which part of the flavour you meant. As I pointed out, 'chai' means 'tea' quite literally, so I initially went with the 'tea' aspect.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 9, 2023 at 9:15
  • “Bear in mind 'chai' means 'tea'” — while that's strictly true, in English many people have come to associate the word with masala chai (‘spiced tea’), specifically with the spices (hence terms such as ‘chai latte’ and ‘chai tea’). So OP's usage is at least understandable.
    – gidds
    Jun 5, 2023 at 22:31

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