Camp Chai: DIY Chai from Everyday Stuff!

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Camp Chai: DIY Chai from Everyday Stuff!

A few years back, my wife and I were up at my family camp near Blue Hill, Maine. It was a cool, rainy Sunday and I really craved a warm spicy mug of Chai. The problem was that I didn’t bring anything to specifically make Chai. I had some Earl Grey loose tea with me, but that was about it. Being a good New Englander, I thought it could be worth a bit of cupboard rummaging to see if there was anything at all to make Chai from.

Our camp cupboards were pretty bare, but I did manage to find a box of black tea bags, ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger (presumably left behind from some baking). There was of course black pepper, a bit of sugar, some maple syrup and a quart of milk in the fridge. I found a small sauce pan in the drawer beneath the stove and proceeded as per the recipe below. The resulting Chai turned out better than expected.

Normally when I make chai, I use loose tea leaves and whole spices, with my favorite teapot pre-warmed. I was happy to find that with just a few ingredients, I was able to make something pretty darn close to that warm spicy mug of chai that I am used to making when I have everything at my disposal.

Makes (2) 16 oz Mugs of Chai


1 Quart (or larger) saucepan

1 Pint Water

3-4 White Heron Classic Black Tea Bags

2 Teaspoons Cinnamon, ground

1 Teaspoon Ginger, ground

1 Pinch Cloves, ground

1 Pinch Black Pepper, ground

2 Tablespoons Sugar, Honey or Maple Syrup

1 Pint Milk (Soy or Almond Milk etc work fine)

Good to Have (but if you don’t, you can still make this :)

•Small Whisk (if not use a fork)

Tea Strainer (mesh tea balls wont work for this)

•Tea pot (pre-warmed with some hot water)

Pour 1 pint of water into the saucepan and heat to a boil. Add the ground spices and sugar or sweetener and whisk for 30 seconds. Add black tea bags and simmer for 5-6 minutes. The longer the tea and spices simmer together, the stronger the flavor. Finally, add 1 pint of milk and give a quick stir. Simmer until the surface of the Chai develops a creamy head. Shut the heat off

If you have a teapot handy, empty out any water, place a tea strainer in the pot, and carefully pour Chai through the strainer into the pre-heated pot. Remove the strainer and replace the teapot lid then pour into warm cups or mugs.

If you don’t have a teapot or strainer, no big deal, just give a final stir to your chai, then carefully pour into heated cups or mugs while trying to keep the tea bags in the pan. Enjoy!


•Be careful not to boil Chai once the milk is added, just simmer

•Get creative, add a teaspoon of cocoa powder or a drop of vanilla if you have them handy

•Add more cinnamon, ginger or black pepper if you like your Chai extra spicy