Sunday, October 9, 2011

Slow Cookin' Sunday: Chai Tea Concentrate

A week ago we were wearing sweatshirts and yesterday we were back in our shorts and sandals. The midwest is in the middle of serious autumn hot spell. It's been 80+ degrees for eight straight days and in Chicago, that's not the norm for this time of the year. Last week as it was raining for eight straight days and I was contemplating turning the heat on, I was craving some chai tea, but I hate everything else that goes into a Starbucks chai and I hate paying lots of dough for the concentrate that sits on supermarket shelves.

So I thought I would take a stab at making my own in the crockpot. And wouldn't you know, it worked? This is so simple to whip up, is a fraction of the cost and is chemical-, dairy-, sugar- and gluten-free. This is so easy and inexpensive, it almost seems is a crime for Starbucks to charge 4 bucks (or more!) for a medium (excuse me, grande) chai.

So while everyone else was sweating outside on shed duty, my youngest goofball and I lapped up the nice air conditioning inside on chai tea concentrate duty (or getting into everything duty).

Slow Cooker Chai Tea Concentrate


8 slices of fresh ginger, peeled (about 1/2 inch diameter)
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
20 whole cardamom inner seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 cups of water
6 black tea bags


Gather up all of the ingredients through the honey and dump them in a slow cooker.

Add the water and set slow cooker to high. Cook for 3 hours. Add tea bags and steep for 10 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids.

Pour concentrate into a 1 quart liquid container.

To make the chai tea, mix equal parts tea concentrate and milk or water (I use almond milk) and heat or pour over ice.

Store concentrate in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. We're supposed to go apple picking today, but something seems off about picking apples when it's 85 degrees outside, right?

P.S. It's SO nice having my camera back. I missed it so much.

Nutrition Information Per 1/2 Cup Concentrate: Calories 79; Total Fat 0g; Total Carb 21g; Fiber 0g; Sugars 20g; Protein 0g

Nutrition Information Per 1/2 Cup Concentrate and 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk: Calories 101; Total Fat 2g; Total Carb 22g; Fiber 1g; Sugars 20g; Protein 1g

*Nutrition information has been calculated using an online recipe calculator tool.
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  1. How easy! I am so glad you posted this because I am trying to replace coffee with tea and didn't really know where to start with chai. Thanks!

  2. looks so creamy!

  3. Once I clean the Apple Butter which is currently cooking out of my crock pot I will be making this concentrate - YUM! We went Apple Picking today in 75 degree heat, it was so strange... I'm ignoring the strange weather and enjoying fall as I had planned though & can't wait to have some awesome chai this week (and all fall I hope once I find out how awesome this recipe is)

  4. Hmmm, Rachel....I think I may be making your crockpot chicken next! Looks delicious!

  5. where we come from (Pakistan) tea is pretty common and comes in all kind of different options... though i haven't tried this combination before... will definitely try it out

  6. I hate paying for starbucks too! Its ridiculously expensive. Buying the concentrate myself is cheaper, but not by much. I can't wait to try this. I've been looking for a substitute for a while - but so far nothing taste quite like the tazo concentrate. Can't wait to try this? How close to the "real" thing is it?

  7. It's pretty close; if it you want it spicier, let it cook longer. I tend to think the Starbucks chai is a tad too spicy. This reminds me of the oregon chai concentrate. Drop a line letting me know what you think if remember!

  8. Hi Gina,

    Just wanted to say thanks for this recipe! I added a few Black Peppercorns and a Star Anise and it turned out great! Also there is the big bonus of making the house smell wonderful. Thank you!

  9. Hi Gina! What a great way of making the concentrate! I tend to make chai fresh ever time. If you're ever interested in making chai the way most Indians do ... check out my recipe:

  10. Hi Gina! Could you clarify for me, what do you mean by "whole cardamom"? There's green cardamom pods or black cardamom pods. Or do you mean the seeds that resemble peppercorns? Thanks!

  11. Hi Michelle,

    I used the inner seeds, which are dark and very hard, like peppercorns (as you mentioned). It was very inexpensive compared to the pods or ground cardamom and provided the same flavor. I thought I would start there and luckily it worked! Thanks for asking for a clarification; I'll add it to the recipe.


  12. Where do you find Cardamom? Never heard of it, lol.


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