Chai Concentrate

$2.73 recipe / $1.00 drink
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 12 votes
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I was really really excited when I saw this post over on Judicial Peach the other day. Homemade chai is something that I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time. Never did I expect it to be so easy and so delicious. The final drink tasted every bit as good as what you’ll spend $4 on at a coffee shop and it is completely customizable (want less sugar? soy milk? orgainic?)

I did make one huge mistake in thinking that I had some cardamom in my cabinet. Turns out I didn’t and the grocery store near me did not have cardamom pods either so I had to make it without. Now, cardamom is kind of the signature spice in chai but I have to say, the drink was still freaking delicious without it. The recipe and prices below do not include the missing cardamom.

Chai Concentrate

Top view of Homemade Chai tea in mug with whipped cream

The cost of making this concentrate can be quite variable. The spices tend to be a little on the expensive side so you have to shop smart. I found a little bag of cinnamon sticks (photo below) in the hispanic foods section for only $1.50. You’ll pay three times that much if you buy it in a jar from the spice section. Cloves are pretty pricey too but luckily you don’t need many.

Tea can also vary quite a bit in price. Chai usually is made with black tea but I happened to have some Stash Black and Green Earl Grey so I used that. The floral aroma from the bergamot in the earl grey added a really nice touch. I bought the box of organic Stash tea at Target for $2.29 (18 bags). Tea can be 10x that expensive so shop around.

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Chai Concentrate

4.92 from 12 votes
Make your own chai concentrate at home with fresh herbs and spices for more flavor than you've ever experienced!
Chai Concentrate
Servings 4 1 cup concentrate + 1 cup milk
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 20 minutes


  • 4 bags black tea ($0.51)
  • 4 small sticks cinnamon ($1.50)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger ($0.11)
  • 10 whole cloves ($0.39)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla ($0.14)
  • 1/2 cup sugar ($0.08)


  • Place four cups of water in a medium pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, tea bags, whole cloves and ginger (peel and slice the fresh ginger).
  • Bring the pot up to a boil, place a lid on top, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes to make sure it is brewed strong.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and carefully strain out the tea bags and spices (Place a colander over a bowl and pour it in). Using whole spices not only adds more flavor but makes straining them out much much easier.
  • While the spiced tea is still hot, stir in the sugar and vanilla. Store the chai concentrate in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
  • To make a drink, combine one part chai concentrate with one part milk. Heat and serve!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


To use cardamom pods, slighty crush 4-5 and add to the pot with the rest of the spices


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 117.63kcalCarbohydrates: 31.18gProtein: 0.43gFat: 0.3gSodium: 3.33mgFiber: 4.45g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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top view of homemade chai concentrate in mug

Step By Step Photos

green and black earl grey tea bags
This is the tea I used, it is very very delicious for a “bag” tea (I usually prefer loose leaf). Using a flavored tea may muddy up the chai flavor so go for plain black tea if you’re unsure. Luckily, the earl grey blended really well with the spices.

cinnamon sticks in packaging
These are the cinnamon sticks I found for a really low price. If your local grocer doesn’t have them for a decent price, try checking ethnic markets.

whole cloves in jar
My itty-bitty jar of cloves. I didn’t have time to shop around for this one but luckily, the recipe doesn’t call for a lot.

close up of whole cloves
If you’ve never seen a whole clove, this is what they look like!

fresh ginger with peeler and sliced on counter
Peel and slice one inch of fresh ginger.

all ingredients in pot to boil
Throw it all in a pot with 4 cups of water (sugar and vanilla is added later).

steamy and simmering spiced tea in pot
Bring the pot up to a boil, place a lid on top, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes.

spiced tea drained through strainer
Strain out the spices and tea bags.

sugar and vanilla added to hot spiced tea mixture
While it’s still hot, stir in the sugar and vanilla.

Finished Chai tea in mug
To make a drink, combine one part chai concentrate with one part milk (I did 8 oz. of each). Heat and serve!

close up of finished tea in mug with whipped cream
Add a little whipped cream if you feel like something extra special.

This drink is seriously so good that I WILL be making it all winter long!

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  1. I love the simplicity of this recipe. I made it for my husband (whose not a huge tea fan) last week to get into the spirit of Christmas and he loved it so much he still thinks about it every day. It must have been a very life changing moment for him because now he’s been requesting it. Thank you! I didn’t have any ginger so I just omitted it. It still tasted absolutely delicious. I’m about to make another batch but larger since he drank a medium pot in one sitting.

  2. This is an awesome recipe, I will not go back to chain drink again. It added cardamom, one peppercorn and one all spice, which came out perfect!! Thank you!

  3. Had a question about strength, I couldn’t really taste anything besides sugar, tea, and milk, maybe a little ginger. How could I intensify the flavors? I tasted it straight as well and basically could taste the tea strongest.

    1. Hmm, I’m not sure. Were your spices fresh? Maybe try letting it steep longer.