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Maybe you’re vegan. Maybe you’re lactose intolerant. Maybe you’re just sick of oh-so-sweet, oh-so-overpriced Starbucks-style concoctions. Whatever the reason, if you’ve decided to try your hand at making your own soy chai tea, the tips and recipe below will help you concoct a delicious blend you can enjoy hot or iced.
See also: Our delicious & tasy chai foods for tea lovers for chai-based recipes to compliment your soy chai tea!
Here’s how to make your own soy chai tea!
Coffee shops have a monopoly on your favorite lattes and upscale teas. Why settle for over-sweetened and overpriced? By following this recipe you can make a delicious and affordable soy chai tea of your very own! What’s great about these spices is that you can buy in bulk. That means you can stock up when the price is right! Thus, you can enjoy as much tea as you’d like!
Stocking your spice cupboard
While you can find most of the necessary spices at a typical supermarket, you’ll save money by venturing to an Indian or Middle Eastern market or the bulk spices section of most health food stores. Stock up on the following:
Cardamom pods (green or brown)
Fresh ginger root (in the produce section)
Vanilla beans (you only need one or two, as these are expensive and can be reused)
Technically, you can substitute ground spices for everything but the pepper and vanilla, but you’ll be sacrificing flavor and producing a somewhat gritty blend. If you can’t find vanilla beans though, it’s okay to add a cap-full of vanilla instead–preferably real vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla.
Selecting your tea
Looseleaf tea is ideal for brewing your own chai, both for taste (bagged teas tend to contain dust and other impurities) and the environment (no bleached bag, string, tag, or individual wrapper means less waste). Look for a plain black tea like Assam rather than a flavored one like Earl Gray.
Your final product will be only as good as the ingredients you put in it, so do yourself a favor and buy the best quality tea you can afford. Do the farmers who grew your tea leaves a favor as well and opt for organic, fair-trade tea.
You can substitute rice, almond, or another non-dairy milk if you prefer. Note that rice milk tends to be more watery than soy milk, so if you’ll be using it, adjust the proportions of water to milk accordingly. And yes, this recipe would work just as well with cow’s milk, but a plant-based diet is better for you and your planet!
Preparing the ingredients
Cardamom: Crush the pods slightly before tipping them into the pot. The seeds inside give cardamom its distinctive flavor.
Ginger: Freeze the ginger root if you won’t be using all of it within a few weeks. You don’t need to thaw or peel it before making your chai. Use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to shave off thin slices of the root. If you feel like putting in some extra effort, you can chop up the slices or grind them in a mortar and pestle, but that’s not strictly necessary.
Recipe: Soy chai tea
Makes one generous serving
Note: The best chai teas are the result of experimentation. Play around with the amounts below to discover your perfect brew. For example, double or triple the amount of ginger for a spicier chai. You might also try adding star anise, fennel seeds, or allspice berries.
- In a saucepan, bring to a boil 1 cup water, 10 cardamom pods, 2 cinnamon sticks, 8 cloves, 6 peppercorns, a vanilla bean, and 3 or 4 thin slices of ginger.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup soy milk, increase heat, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat as soon as the mixture begins to foam to prevent it from boiling over.
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons looseleaf black tea and allow to steep, covered, for 3 minutes. (Note: Many recipes say to add the tea at the beginning with the spices, but that creates a bitter chai.)
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the tea into a large mug, add sugar to taste, and savor. On summer days, cover and refrigerate your chai first for a refreshing afternoon drink.
- Rinse the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean. Set aside in a small bowl to dry before storing for later reuse.