The weather is getting cooler, the days shorter, the mornings darker. And with this shift in the cycle, having something delicious, warming, and grounding can make all the difference to body, energy, and Soul!
In the cooler months, it's unusual for me not to have at least one jar of spicy tea concentrate in my fridge. Every few days, there's a new pot simmering away on the stove, filling my house with warm and cozy energy.
And so, here you are, my take on a caffeine-free, chai-meets-yogi-tea concentrate!
Notice there are no actual measurements. There's a few reasons for this:
A) I rarely carry out the same "recipe" twice. Even if it's from a cookbook, I riff off what the recipe says, going by sight, feel, taste, intuition, and what I have on hand.
(B) Being in the kitchen with kids running around can be distracting!
(C) I can be a little competitive with myself, and I enjoy the challenge of figuring out the most desirable balance of ingredients for that particular moment.
Side note: Last winter, my partner and I had the longest on-going conversation about the perfect cup of this spicy tea. I managed to make one unbelievably awesome batch, but never managed to quite re-create it, so it's become this mini legend within our minds: "Yeah, this one's good... but you know, it's just not quite like that one time..."
It's pretty difficult to mess up this tea. If it's too spicy or strong, you can always temper it with more water before you jar it up, or milk of choice when you make yourself a cup. If it's not strong enough, you can always simmer it longer until it becomes more concentrated. Ya like it spicy, go all-out your first time... if you're a milder soul, perhaps less is more your first go 'round.
So riff, figure out what you're craving or needing. But maybe write it down in case you manage to perfect that most amazing batch!
You will need:
For the Concentrate:
one large pot with a lid
green cardamom pods
fresh ginger root
For a yummy cup of tea:
your finished concentrate
milk of your choice (I prefer almond or coconut- but that is because I try to avoid dairy)
And away you go!:
1. Fill your pot with some fresh water. I tend to use around 12-14 cups.
2. Throw in some cinnamon sticks (my lucky number is 7).
3. If you have a mortar and pestle, crush up some of the cardamom and peppercorns. Those can join their friends the cinnamon sticks in the pool. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, have no fear, the flat side of a knife does a fine job at crushing cardamom pods. You can always leave the peppercorns whole, or crush them with the knife as well.
4. Toss some of the cloves into the pot.
5. Peel some of the ginger root and chop into smallish pieces. Throw those in. Obviously these give the tea some kick, so if you prefer mild, then you'll want to watch how much ginger you use.
6. With the lid on the pot, bring your water to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down so that it simmers gently. Enjoy the amazing scent! I like to simmer mine on and off all day if I am home.
7. Once, I am ready to turn off the heat (usually before I head to bed), I throw in a little fennel seeds. Don't add the fennel to the boiling water- it can turn rather bitter, or so I am told. I then let the whole thing sit to steep as it cools overnight. In total, the process takes me 12-24 hours. The longer steeped, the stronger the concentrate.
8. Strain into some mason jars or glass containers and refrigerate. Your concentrate is now ready!
9. When you're wanting a cup of spicy warmth, simply measure out about a half a mug's worth of concentrate (more or less depending on your taste), and fill the rest with your milk of choice. I then heat mine up on the stove. Pour back into your mug, and add a little bit of honey to taste.
*If you are desiring some caffeine kick to your tea, you can always heat up your concentrate and milk with some black tea added in. Strain that before you add your honey, and voila!
*Grated nutmeg would likely make a great addition to this tea. I've also played around with adding some vanilla bean.
Raising my chai-yogi-tea-concoction to you!