Homemade Chai from Scratch

The best chai I've ever had was made from scratch by my friend's mother-in-law. She's indian and after explaining that "chai" means "tea" (so "chai tea" becomes a redundant "tea tea"), she served me the most delicious chai. It was full of flavor with the milk and sugar mellowing out any harsh spice notes.

I've been working on my own chai blend through trial and error. After two weeks of testing and consuming two cups of chai per day, here's my recipe, which I must say, is pretty tasty. The hardest part is gathering all the ingredients.

HOMEMADE CHAI FROM SCRATCH
Makes 2 cups

3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup milk (I use soy.)
2 teaspoons of black tea (Assam or Ceylon)
1/2 piece cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon honey
5 whole green cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/2 star anise
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of coarse ground pepper 

1. Crush and roughly chop the star anise, cloves and cardamoms.
2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients except for the vanilla extract.
3. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Take off heat. Add vanilla extract.
4. Using a strainer, pour or ladle chai into mugs. Enjoy!