This will make your house smell seriously good for days. I've started making a batch every Sunday afternoon and this recipe gets me through the week. It reminds me of one of my favorite little shops/cafes in my hometown that always had a massive pot of chai simmering during the winter months. It's the most welcoming smell there is.
8 cups water
4 to 5 in. piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
30 black peppercorns
about 25 cloves
about 20 cardamom pods
4 star anise
1 generous pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon loose black tea (or 7 bags of black tea)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar
In a slow cooker, add water, ginger, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, star anise, and nutmeg and cook on low for about six hours or high for about two and a half. Turn on high and add tea, allowing to steep for five minutes. Remove tea and add sugar. Stir to dissolve and let cool for a bit. Carefully pour chai concentrate into a pitcher or large glass jar over a mesh strainer for storage (alternatively you can ladle the chai which minimizes splashing).
That's it. To prepare, mix with milk to taste and heat. I love it with soy or cow's, I'm sure almond milk would be delicious too. I use roughly two parts chai concentrate to one part milk, but do whatever makes you happy. I'm sure this would also be great with honey, but I haven't tried it yet. Next time.