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Three Many Cooks: DIY Chai Tea
Three Many Cooks: DIY Chai Tea: Pam Anderson whips up a chai tea concentrate.
Eriko Koga/Getty Images

One of my resolutions this year has been to spend less on specialty drinks. I bought a new coffee maker with a burr grinder that I love, and I ordered a stash of coffee pods for my old espresso machine.

I’ve also started making my own chai tea. It wasn’t as easy as I thought to develop a recipe I loved.

I started by brewing tea with whole spices, but I wanted something with more flavor and character. Ground spices were a better choice, but there was still something missing. I checked out the ingredients list of a concentrate. I liked two intriguing flavors: a little molasses to support all those rich, heavy spices, and a squeeze of lemon juice to enliven flavor. Finally, I got it right.

My chai concentrate has the right amount of sweetener for me. If you want more, simply add a little extra agave.

Chai Tea Concentrate

• 4 tsps. each ground ginger and cinnamon
• 4 tsps. fennel seeds, ground
• 2 tsps. each ground black pepper, cardamom and coriander
• 1 tsp. ground cloves
• ¼ cup loose black tea such as Earl Grey
• ¾ cup blue agave
• 2 Tbs. molasses
• 4 tsps. vanilla extract
• 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice

Heat spices in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and smoke starts to rise, a couple of minutes. Add 1 quart of water and the tea; bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat, cover and let steep about 10 minutes. Strain out tea and spices; stir in agave, molasses, vanilla and lemon juice.

To serve, combine ¼ cup of the concentrate with either ¾ cup hot or cold milk or water. The rest can be covered and refrigerated up to a couple of weeks until ready to use.

(Note: Recipe does not include cookies pictured above.)

Makes 16 cups

Per serving for 16: 60 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 0g protein, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 0g dietary fiber, 2mg sodium

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Contributing Editor Pam Anderson is the author of six cookbooks. Her latest is "Perfect One-Dish Dinners" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $32). She blogs at threemanycooks.com.