Chai tea is a weakness of mine, and I really like going for the good stuff. Hey, I’ll admit it: I was an ardent lover of whatever Starbucks was slinging for years. Growing up in the sticks, I would always excitedly go to Starbucks whenever I visited my family in NYC just for their amazing chai. It was such a novelty for me! Then, as I got older, I saw what real chai tea was (thanks, in part, to the dearly departed Chaiwalla in Salisbury, CT, my Yelp review circa November 2010 still shining bright); while always good in a pinch, my love for mass-produced sugar-laden chai concentrates largely fell by the wayside. Brewing chai with black tea and aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, anise, black pepper, and cardamom, is so warm and satisfying. It’s far more guiltless as the amount of ingredients can be controlled. Less sugar? Plant-based milk? More cardamom? Experiment as you please!
I also love a good cup of hot cocoa. I love how I preached steering away from aforementioned chai concentrates in the preceding paragraph, yet I’m about to drop this gem: I LOVE DUNKIN’ DONUTS HOT COCOA. Good lord, that stuff is addictive! I occasionally throw caution to the wind. I think to myself, “Is it bad to consume Silicon Dioxide and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate every so often? Is it?” Okay…well…yeah, it’s not. Ha! Regardless, it fills a hole in my soul every now and then. However, at the end of the day, I always try to eat recognizable ingredients; I often make my own cocoa at home, where the ingredients are merely milk, cocoa, sugar, homemade vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. That I can recognize. I don’t recall where I got this recipe from, but I’ve been making it this way ever since I was in high school. It’s definitely tried and true!
I love putting a hit of cinnamon into my cocoa every now and then, when I remember to grab a little before drinking it. The slightly sweet spice really brings out the richness of the cocoa. Then I started conjuring all of the flavors that border on sweet and savory that complement chocolate so well: curry, coconut, pepper, salt, et al. Why couldn’t a nice chai mix work well in cocoa?
SOMEONE REMIND ME to repost a clearer shot of this photo one day…ha!
I have often made my own chai mixes with individual spices and black tea, but I’m Sandra Lee-ing this recipe with some chai tea bags. Trust: It’ll make life easier. Be sure to check the ingredients! I found this Pure Leaf Chai Tea on sale at my local grocery store, and the ingredients are solid: black tea, cinnamon, ginger root, cardamom, chicory root, cloves, black pepper, and marigold petals.
By the way, best mug ever right? RIGHT.
Enjoy your cocoa, friends.
Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]
(Serves One, but of course!)
– 8 – 10 ounces milk, dairy or non-dairy (milk amount depends on your mug size!)
– 2 tablespoons cocoa
– 1 – 2 tablespoons sugar or sweetener of choice, to taste
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Dash of salt
– 1 chai tea teabag (I used Pure Leaf)
Before We Get Started…
– Of course, it’s very easy to expand the proportions of ingredients to make this with multiple people! I have not tried; I’ve only developed this single serving recipe. If you have success making expanding the serving sizes of this recipe, please share in the comments!
1.) Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add milk; bring to just below boiling, then whisk in cocoa until combined. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk to incorporate. Lower heat to low and add chai tea bag. Seep tea bag in milk for 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow tea bag to steep for an additional 3 – 5 minutes. Remove tea bag and pour cocoa into mug, preferably a cute one with some cheeky illustrations or phrases.
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NOTE: This post was not sponsored by Pure Leaf, but I’ve got to give them a shout out because their chai blend worked wonders for this recipe!