Chai Tea Concentrate
Updated: Feb 23, 2022
I know I've been crap at keeping up with this blog. As it turns out, I like MAKING THINGS more than I like blogging about the things I make. I love doing DIY projects, but I don't always love writing about them because I get caught up with feeling like I need to have gorgeous photos to accompany the posts. I end up posting more on my personal @mollycolleen Insta than my @makersmolly Insta as a result. I'm challenging myself to be less of a perfectionist about it, and trying to post more here, regardless of the photo quality. So I wanted to share a bit about what I've been up to lately!
Any other chai fans here? I'd forgotten how much I love chai, until I was in the Bay Area last month and a friend asked if they could bring me something from a coffeeshop. I became a little obsessed with it after that. When my wife and I got back to Seattle, I bought some Oregon Chai concentrate and a milk frother, and started making myself a chai each morning. And okay, some evenings, too!
Soon I decided to investigate making my own chai concentrate. I did some research into recipes, and ended up combined a couple of the ones I liked best. I also looked up how to can tea in a water bath, just to make sure there was nothing special or different from what I do when I make jams. (There's not.)
I primarily used a recipe from the Sweet Steep Tea Blog. The amount of sugar called for in the Sweet Steep recipe seemed extreme to me, so I cut it by about half. In retrospect I think they were right. My recipe reflects the full amount of sugar called for. I think it's fine to leave it out if you're going to add your own sugar anyway, or if you're trying to avoid sugar generally. But for me, it definitely needs the sugar in the base batch. I also reduced the amount of ginger in my recipe. I like ginger, but the Sweet Steep recipe called for a bit more than my personal taste. My recipe calls for 1/4 c, but if you like a spicier flavor, do 1/3 c instead.
It's definitely a cost-saving measure, though that wasn't the primary draw for me; I mostly like the satisfaction of consuming things that I have made myself. But, if you're wanting to do this to save some pennies, here's how it breaks down:
$5* - 16oz Vanilla Chai Starbucks Latte (10 minutes!)
$4* - 1qt Oregon Chai concentrate (1 week, if consuming one 16oz drink daily)
$10-15* - Chai spice ingredients (obviously this depends on how much you buy, but this is my approximation for ~1 month of DIY chai concentrate ingredients, which should make up to 4qt of concentrate.)
*These costs are "ish" because costs obviously depend on where you live, and the quality of ingredients you are able to purchase. I bought most of my ingredients from PCC Community Markets here in the Seattle area because they have organic bulk spices, but I highly recommend Penzey's if you can't get some of the specialized ingredients (like cardamom pods) locally. That will also drive up the cost, unfortunately.