Chai is a popular Indian beverage made from black tea, milk, a sweetener, and spices. Mixtures known as chai masala may include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and peppercorns to give the drink its heady aroma. Some sugar or honey is essential to bring out all the flavors.
Makes 8 servings
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 quarts water to a boil. Add the tea bags, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, fennel, cloves, peppercorns, and vanilla bean. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes aromatic and a medium brown color.
Add the honey and milk and stir to dissolve the honey. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
Strain the liquid through a sieve, pressing on the tea bags and spices to extract as much liquid and flavor as possible. Taste the liquid for sweetness and add more honey, if desired. The chai can be served immediately in cups as a hot drink, or chilled to serve in tall glasses over ice. The chai can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.