Masala Chai

I first stumbled onto the idea of homemade masala chai while reading a post on Design*Sponge; I'd indulged in a chai latte from time to time, but never thought of making my own blend. Ultimately I found I preferred a more heavily spiced version than the recipe offered by D*S, but they definitely provided me with the inspiration and framework. I've become quite addicted to my blend over time, especially during the more frigid months - it is so invigorating to inhale the fragrant steam coming off the liquid, and feel the glowing warmth of the spices with every sip. Make yourself a cuppa, set down with a good book, and enjoy!

Cup and saucer from Rachel Kozlowski
Masala Chai
Makes 2 servings

*2 cups water
*6 crushed cardamom pods
*6 cloves
*1/2 inch cube ginger
*1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
*1 inch piece cinnamon stick
*2 black tea bags
*Steamed milk (optional)

Bring the water, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and ginger to a boil in a pot. Add tea bags and reduce heat to low; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for another 5-10 minutes. Strain tea, discarding solids. If you want a milky beverage, use a 2-1 chai to milk ratio... I myself prefer the spiced tea alone!