Authentic Chai Concentrate Recipe (for the Tastiest Chai Latte!)

5 from 1 vote
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My Indian husband loves this homemade Chai Concentrate Recipe. Quick, easy, and full of tasty, authentic masala tea flavor.

Concentrate chai in glass bottle

Here is how to make a beautifully spiced chai concentrate for all your chai needs. I’m talking homemade chai tea latte, your dirty chai latte, your hot and cold lattes, the works.

This recipe puts store-bought chai concentrates back on the shelf. 

Why You’ll Love This Chai Concentrate Recipe

This chai concentrate is so delicious; I love to keep a batch in the fridge and here’s why:

  • Rich flavor: The blend of black tea, warm spices, and aromatic ingredients creates a chai concentrate with a rich, complex flavor.
  • Customizable ingredients: I love to mix, match, and add to this base recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfect as is, too.
  • Healthy convenience: Instead of buying a store-bought concentrate that is loaded with preservatives; make your own so you know exactly what’s in it.
  • Health benefits: According to Harvard School of Public Health, tea offers a good dose of antioxidants.
  • Cost-effective: Buying batches of spices and tea and making up concentrates is more budget-friendly in the long run.
  • Makes a cute gift: Pour it into a cute little glass bottle and take it to a friend next time you go over for dinner.
Chai concentrate ingredients

Here’s What You Need

Here are the ingredients and tools you’ll need to make this recipe:

Ingredients

I bet you already have a bunch of these at home: 

  • Tea bags: Go for black tea, such as Assam or Darjeeling. Make sure your tea bags are fresh for best results. You can also experiment with other black tea varieties.
  • Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon: Cinnamon adds warmth and depth to the chai. This is a key ingredient in chai. Adjust the amount according to your preference.
  • Fresh ginger or grated ginger or ground ginger: Ginger adds a spicy hit and a vibrant aroma to the chai concentrate. 
  • Whole cloves: Cloves contribute a rich, earthy flavor with hints of sweetness and spice to the chai concentrate. I don’t recommend switching whole cloves for ground.
  • Cardamom pods: Crushing the pods slightly before adding them to the mixture helps release their essential oils. Try find bright green cardamom pods. 
  • Vanilla extract: This complements the warm spices in the chai concentrate, adding a subtle sweetness and complexity to the flavor profile.
  • Sugar: You can also use other sweeteners like honey, maple, or agave syrup. These all taste different, so keep that in mind.
Add water in pan

Substitutions and Variations

Here are a couple of ways to vary this base recipe:

  • Tea base: Instead of black tea, you can try a green tea for a lighter and more floral flavor. Experiment with herbal teas like rooibos or chai spice blends that don’t contain caffeine for a caffeine-free version of chai concentrate.
  • Spices: You can increase or decrease the amounts of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom to customize the flavor intensity.
  • Flavor enhancers: Add a pinch of black pepper or a few saffron threads. So lux! You can also infuse the chai concentrate with a slice of orange peel or zest.
  • Alcohol infusions: For a grownup blend – try a splash of rum, bourbon, or whiskey!

Tools to Grab

Here are the 3 items you’ll need for your tea concentrate:

  • Medium-sized pot: to cook and steep the tea in.
  • Sieve or straining cloth: To strain out the whole ingredients. 
  • Glass bottles: These are to store the chai concentrate recipe in. I recommend glass over plastic. 
Adding Cardamom

How to Make Chai Latte Concentrate: An Easy Guide

These are your steps to making this delicious chai tea concentrate:

Boil Spices

Pour the water into a medium-sized pot. Add the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom, and bring the water up to a boil.

Add Tea Bags

Turn off the heat and add the tea bags to the water. Steep for them for 5 minutes in the water. Time this step so as not to oversteep the tea.

Adding spices

Strain and Sweeten

Remove the tea bags and press them to remove as much flavor and liquid as possible. Strain the mixture to remove the spices.

Stir in the sugar while it’s still warm.

Cool and Store

Let the concentrate cool to room temperature. 

Transfer it to an airtight container or sealed jar and keep it in the refrigerator.

Straining chai

Storage

A concentrate is great because you can keep it for up to 2 weeks. Here’s how to get it to last as long as possible:

  • Store the chai tea concentrate in clean, airtight containers to prevent contamination.
  • Glass jars or bottles with secure lids are ideal for storing the concentrate. Make sure the containers are thoroughly cleaned and dried before filling them with the chai mixture.
  • Label the containers with the date of preparation to keep track of freshness and ensure you use the concentrate within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Refrigerate the chai tea concentrate promptly after preparing it to preserve its flavor and prevent spoilage.
  • Place the containers of chai concentrate in the refrigerator and ensure they are stored away from strong-smelling foods to prevent flavor absorption.
Straining Chai Concentrate into a measuring cup.

Freezing

If you anticipate not using the entire batch of chai tea concentrate within a week or two, freeze portions of it. to do this:

  • Pour the chai concentrate into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the chai cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container for easy storage.
  • Frozen chai cubes can be kept for several months and thawed as needed by adding them to hot milk or water.
Hot chai being poured into a glass.

How to Use this Chai Concentrate Recipe

Now that you have your delicious chai concentrate, you can enjoy it in a bunch of different ways:

  • Hot chai: Mix the chai concentrate with an equal amount of milk. Heat it gently on the stove or microwave for 1-2 minutes. Up the amount of milk + add froth for a chai tea latte.
  • Iced chai: Pour half chai concentrate and half dairy milk (or any milk) over ice and stir. Turn it into an iced chai latte by adding cold froth!
  • Chai smoothie: Blend chai concentrate with frozen bananas, yogurt, dates, and almond butter. Adjust the consistency by adding more chai concentrate or milk as needed.
  • Chai cocktails: Mix chai concentrate with vodka, rum, or whiskey for a fun cocktail. Add a splash of cream or coconut milk for a creamy texture. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or star anise for an elegant touch.
  • Chai-infused oatmeal: Cook oats according to package instructions and stir in chai concentrate. Top with sliced bananas, nuts, and a drizzle of honey for added sweetness.
Chai oatmeal

5 Common Mistakes When Making Chai Latte Concentrate

Check out my notes on tricky mistakes to avoid:

  • Over-boiling the ingredients: Boiling the spices and tea for too long can produce a bitter and overly intense flavor. It’s essential to bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and then reduce the heat to allow the flavors to infuse gradually.
  • Using poor-quality ingredients: If your tea or spices are old – the concentrate will lack flavor and punch.
  • Incorrect spice proportions: Balancing the spices is key to achieving the perfect chai flavor. 
  • Skipping the straining step: Nobody wants to sip their chai tea and slurp up a cardamom pod!
  • Overlooking sweetness and dilution: Taste the concentrate as it simmers and add sweetener gradually.
Tilting a bottle of chai latte concentrate

Final Notes, Pro Tips + Science-Based Secrets

As a food scientist, here are my pro tips for getting the MOST delicious chai concentrate that is bursting with spicy goodness:

  • Temperature control: Maintain a gentle simmer rather than a rolling boil to prevent bitterness.
  • Quality ingredients: Invest in high-quality tea leaves and fresh spices and use them in the correct ratios.
  • Straining techniques: Use a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to achieve a smooth and clear chai concentrate. Removing any grit or sediment is key.
  • Storage and freshness: Store the chai concentrate in airtight containers in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage.
  • Infuse off the heat: Since you aren’t serving the chai hot immediately anyway, let the tea infuse with the heat off. It helps prevent the bitter taste of over-steeping tea, leaving you with a strong, clear, delicious tea flavor.
Pouring milk into iced chai latte.

FAQs About Homemade Chai Concentrate

Just skimming through? Here are some key take aways from this article:

Can I use decaffeinated tea for the chai concentrate?

Yes, you can use decaffeinated black tea or herbal tea blends as a base for your chai concentrate. Keep in mind that the flavor profile might be reduced from regular black tea, so you might like to add a few extra tea bags or spoonfuls of loose tea.

How long does chai latte concentrate last in the refrigerator?

Chai concentrate typically lasts about 1 to 2 weeks when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Can I make chai latte concentrate without sugar?

Yes, you can adjust the sweetness level of the chai concentrate according to your preference. Leave out the sugar if you like, or substitute it with honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup.

How can I adjust the spice level in the chai concentrate?

You can adjust the spice level in the chai concentrate by varying the quantities of spices used or experimenting with different spice combinations. 

Start with smaller amounts and gradually increase or decrease based on your taste preferences.

Can I freeze chai concentrate for long-term storage?

Yes, you can freeze chai concentrate in ice cube trays or freezer-safe containers for longer-term storage. Thaw the concentrate as needed and dilute it with hot milk or water for a delicious cup of chai.

Can I use ground spices instead of whole spices for chai concentrate?

Yes, you can use ground spices, but the first prize is whole spices. It’s easier to control the bitterness and end flavor. 

Can I customize the chai concentrate recipe to make it caffeine-free?

Yes, you can customize the chai concentrate recipe to make it caffeine-free by using herbal teas or caffeine-free black tea blends as a base.

Can I use the chai concentrate as a flavoring in desserts or baked goods?

Absolutely! Chai concentrate can add a yummy flavor to desserts, baked goods, and even savory dishes. Use it to flavor cakes, cookies, ice cream, or sauces for a delicious chai-infused twist.

Other Chai Recipes You’ll Love

More Indian Favs

Put some of my Indian husband Adarsh’s favs on your must-make list:

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5 from 1 vote

Chai Latte Concentrate Recipe

A delicious homemade chai concentrate made with whole spices and black tea bags. This recipe can be kept in the fridge and used for up to 2 weeks!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Steeping Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 cups water
  • 10 tea bags Assam, Darjeeling, or any black tea
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 inch fresh ginger thinly sliced (or 1 tbsp grated ginger or ¼ tsp ground ginger)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar adjust to taste
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Instructions 

  • Boil Spices: Add water to a medium-sized pot. Add the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom and bring the water to a boil.
  • Add Tea Bags: Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes, making sure not to over-steep.
  • Sweeten: Remove the tea bags and press them to extract as much flavor as possible. Strain the mixture to remove the spices, then stir in the sugar while it’s still warm.
  • Cool and Store: Let the concentrate cool to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container or sealed jar and keep it in the refrigerator.

Notes

Use fresh tea and spices for the best flavor.
Adjust sweetness to your personal preference.
Since you aren’t serving the chai hot immediately anyway, let the tea infuse with the heat off. It helps prevent the bitter taste you can get from over-steeping tea, leaving you with a strong, clear, delicious tea flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 57mg | Potassium: 255mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 60g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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