I have always been a lover of chai. For years I drank the vanilla chai from Bigelow almost every morning and it was so convenient and delicious! This past year, however, I discovered how many additives are in packaged teas in addition to the amount of bleach and chemicals that are in the tea bags. I recently saw “bleach free” denoted on a tea box and thought, “we really shouldn’t be excited about a food product not containing bleach. Food shouldn’t contain bleach in the first place!”.
As a result of this newfound knowledge, I have been slowly switching to loose-leaf teas. I replaced all my favorite herbals and greens, but the Bigelow vanilla chai was the last to go. I began by buying some loose-leaf Assam from Mountain Rose Herbs. Slowly I started to watch videos and experiment with different methods, but it wasn’t until I bought a mortar and pestle that I started to make sticky chai.
What is sticky chai?
Chai means tea in Hindi but the sticky part of it is referring to the texture which is a result of adding honey which acts as a sweetener and a preserver. It is made by combining traditional chai spices like cinnamon and cardamom with black tea and honey to make a sticky tea ready to be added to hot milk and water. The biggest benefit of sticky chai is how easy it is to make ahead of time, store in your fridge, and fix it up later when you are ready for a warm comforting drink.
Sticky Chai Ingredients and supplies:
One thing I love about sticky chai is that you can customize it however you like! If you love ginger, add more. If you want it to be stronger, add another tablespoon of black tea. Because of this, the quantities listed in the recipe below are more like guidelines, feel free to get creative and make it your own!
My favorite Sticky Chai Recipe
- 2 inches of fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon whole Aranya peppercorns
- 10 pods green Cardamom-be sure to use fresh!
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 tablespoon loose-leaf black tea
- 1 tablespoon honey or date syrup or maple syrup! feel free to add more as needed
- Start by crushing your ginger and grinding it into a paste with your mortar and pestle. You can also use a micro plane to grate the ginger. I like to grind my ginger first and remove it from the mortar before adding the other spices.
- In the mortar, gently crush the cardamom pods, cloves, and peppercorns to release the oil and flavor.
- You can also crush the cinnamon stick into small pieces.
- Add the crushed spices and all other ingredients to a bowl or jar and gently toss to combine until all the spices and honey are distributed evenly and the mixture is sticky and fragrant. The texture should resemble that of wet granola.
- Store your sticky chai in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 month
How to make sticky chai
- To make a single serving of sticky chai, add ¼ of the mixture and one cup of hot water to a small pot and bring to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until fully infused
- Add 1 cup of milk to the pot and bring to a low boil so that the milk begins to foam. Lift off the heat once it foams and return to the heat when the foam dies down. Repeat this step several times for a richer and luxurious texture.
- Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.