Chai lattes are really the only lattes I drink any more, and I know that they are almost universally made in North America using a syrup or a concentrate. So I did some research and found a recipe that had been the subject of some very positive reviews. The ingredients that I used were the following:
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into four pieces;
- three 3" sticks of cinnamon;
- four cloves;
- 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom;
- four black tea bags (I used Orange Pekoe);
- four cups of water;
- 2/3 cups of sugar; and
- 2 tsp vanilla.
I put the water in a large saucepan then put in the ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom and tea bags. I put them all straight into the water and put the heat on medium. After the water was fairly hot, I waited five minutes then took out the tea bags (if you leave them in the hot water too long, the tea will become bitter). I left the other ingredients in the water and reduced it to low to simmer for another five minutes. I then strained the mixture, using a fine mesh strainer and two pieces of cheesecloth, folded in half (four layers of cheesecloth). I put the liquid back onto the heat for another half an hour so that it would form more of a concentrate. In the last five minutes I added the sugar and the vanilla and stirred them well so that the sugar was dissolved.
Once the syrup had cooled somewhat, using a funnel, I poured it into one of my spare glass milk bottles that I seem to use for everything. Tim helped me use our new-to-us espresso maker to steam some milk and added it to the concentrate at a 1:3 ratio of concentrate to milk. It was amazing!
If I could do it over, I think I would add less sugar, as it was very sweet. But I really enjoyed the spice, I think next time I might use more ginger, or might even use ginger root powder. I like the bite of the ginger in chai.