The other week I found a recipe for chai tea at German magazine Brigitte.de. I thought I might have all ingredients at home but just pinned the recipe to the kitchen tiles for the time being and forgot to check.
A little while later I reminded myself not to forget that I’d bought in ingredients to make hazelnut syrup. And while I was pondering whether to make that on that day, my glance fell on the recipe, and I thought that I’d definitely be making syrup, but I’d make chai syrup instead of either hazelnut syrup or chai tea.
So this morning I finally managed to check on my ingredients, and I did indeed have everything needed in my spice cupboards. I’m so happy I got my butt off the couch and made this chai syrup. I did have two oh darn moments along the way, but the result was nevertheless just perfect.
My first oh darn moment was when I realised I couldn’t just pour my concoction through a sieve into the bottle. I didn’t have loose tea – which would have consisted of coarser pieces – but had cut open tea bags, and the tea in those was as fine as ground coffee. I first tried to pour everything through a coffee filter placed into the filter holder of my coffee maker. This turned out to be not such a good idea because the filter holder has this stop-drop-thingy on the bottom that needed to be depressed, which didn’t work with my contraption (see pic above).
I then tried with a similar contraption that’s basically the coffee filter equivalent but smaller and holds tea bags. This I was able to pour the liquid into, which went straight through the funnel into my bottle.
The second oh darn moment was when I went in search of my handheld milk frother and remembered it had given up the ghost and I’d thrown it out. Hence the unfortunately frothless chai latte in the pictures.
Despite these two not so perfect moments, this syrup was extremely easy to make, and the result is pure perfection. I was so pleased it didn’t turn out as sweet as most coffee shop syrups but tastes very natural.
I used the basic recipe for syrup with a 500 g white sugar : ½ litre water ratio. Even though this seems a lot of sugar, the result is still not as sweet as I’d feared. To this I simply added the chai ingredients as per the magazine’s list.
By the way – if you just want to make your own chai tea instead of syrup, pour boiling water over just the spices mentioned below. The spice mix will make 6 cups of tea.
500 g white sugar
½ litre water
3 star anise
10 cardamom pods, slightly tapped with a pestle so they’re opened but not crushed
2.5 cm / 1 in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
30 g Earl Grey tea, either loose leafed tea or contents of cut-open tea bags
If using tea bags, cut open as many as you require to get 30 g of tea. Mix all ingredients in a (not too small) pot. Bring to a boil, then from point of boiling leave on a bubbling simmer for no longer than 6 minutes [otherwise the syrup will get too thick once bottled.] The sugar should be completely dissolved. Keep stirring often, especially to stir sugar that has collected at the sides of the pot during the boiling phase back in.
Prepare your tools for bottling. I found it easiest to use a tea bag/filter [they’re not as coarse as coffee filters and let the syrup through quicker], attach it to a tea bag/filter holder, hold this into a funnel and pour the syrup through this into the bottle.
To make a chai latte, pour 1 – 2 fingers’ width of syrup into a heat proof glass, top up with hot milk and top up with some frothed milk.
I’m really looking forward to having more homemade chai latte as it’s a perfect comfy drink for the season. This would make a great homemade gift, either for Christmas, as a hostess gift, or as a little gift for your dinner guests to take home.