I have become mildly obsessed with Masala Chai Tea and it is all because of Aroma Indian Restaurant in Foggy Bottom. After finishing our meal, my friends ordered some tea while I ordered dessert. They both sighed deeply after taking one sip and exclaimed how delicious the tea was. I took a sip from one of their cups and immediately ordered a cup of my own. The waiter brought out the teapot and I could see the whole spices that were brewed in the tea. Since that dinner, I have craved a cup of Masala Chai tea everyday.
At Trader Joes, I picked up Red Chai Tea bags and brewed a cup once I got home. So disappointing. The tea had very little flavor and barely had a hint of spice. I brewed two tea bags per cup and still found it bland. A friend gave me some Tazo Chai tea bags (the ones used at Starbucks). The flavor was stronger than the ones from Trader Joes but not nearly the heavenly taste of the tea I had at Aroma.
I started asking around to see how people made their teas at home. A friend told me that a friend of hers simply crushes some cardamom pods, brewed them with some Lipton tea, and added milk and sugar. A co-worker, who visits India often to see his family, told me that making the tea with whole spices is the only way to go. I mentally made plans to visit an Indian market to pick up all of the spices.
Suddenly today, it hit me that I had all of the spices I needed to make this tea. Most of the spices are the same spices I use to make pho. Eureka!
10 cardamom pods, crushed
10 whole cloves
1 anise star
2 cinnamon sticks
4 black tea bags
4 cups of water
Place water and spices in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add black tea bags and simmer for another five minutes. Strain into a tea cup and add milk and sugar to taste. Enjoy.