ALMOND MILK CHAI
What I've discovered about chai is that it benefits from a good, long steep. Unfortunately, this might mean you make it in the morning (or the day before), and wait to drink it until later. I know, the agony. But I've sipped enough mediocre homemade chai to know it's worth the wait.
There's also a process involved with infusing, then straining, then heating with tea, then straining again. It seems laborious, in some ways, but when you're truly in the mood for chai, there is nothing more comforting.
As with many recipes, your chai spice mix is a very personal matter. This is my current favorite, because it errs on the savory side. If you want a little less spice, omit the ginger the first time to see how you like it.
1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon whole all spice
2 star anise
2 slices fresh ginger (unpeeled)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 1 1/2 cup homemade almond milk
1 bag black tea
Place the cardamom, all spice and star anise on a cutting board and lightly crush the spices with the side of a sturdy knife. Scrape into a small sauce pan, then add the ginger and cinnamon. Pour the almond milk into the pot, add a dollop of honey (I like about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) and simmer over medium-low heat for at least 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for as long as you can bear. (It's perfectly fine to continue after this point, just try different variations in the future to find your perfect steep time.)
Drop in the tea bag and simmer for 5 minutes more. Strain over a mug and enjoy with a good book.