Dear sister,

I've been thinking of you since the other day when we were at the gym. I like when we talk about life while moving our bods, feels so productive and efficient of us. You said, "I didn't realize being 23 was going to be this confusing" and I wanted to jump straight off my elliptical pedals and hug you. I didn't, because... well, neither of us are much for a 'scene', and I know you didn't mean much by it, but the empathy rushed through me like stepping into a cold shower. I know we are completely different people, in all sense of the word, but please believe me when I say I know exactly how you feel. Once a 'grown up' (read, graduated), we were under the impression that if one works hard, you get what you want/need. It seemed a realistic expectation to me too, and the reality of it is, like you said, far more confusing than we romanticized this phase of life to be.

Though I've only got a few years on you, and am clearly still figuring things out, I promise you that this will pass. Life will surely become more expensive, and more responsibility will rear it's head, but you continue to grow up with those things. By observation and life experience, we write our own definition of what love is, and then giving and getting that kind of love, seems to be most important to all these other little things. Sappy, I know, deal with it. I don't have answers, but I know our hopes of cute houses, dinner parties and traveling aren't far off. I am so proud of you, and the fact that you are pursuing what you love inspires me.

This lovely beverage, in an ironic way, is kind of what I am trying to say. I initially followed a recipe; it wasn't spicy enough, it suggested you steep the tea in milk (which never works) and was less than impressive. When I tried it again, MY way, it was better than I thought. You may have to figure through this crazy life a few different ways, but in the end it will exceed your expectations.

Love, your STILL confused yet motivational sister xoCHAI_02

SPICY CHAI LATTE // Makes 4 Small Cups

4 Bags of Black Tea (English/Irish Breakfast, Darjeeling etc.)
1 Cup Milk
2 inch. piece Fresh Ginger, cut into pieces
1 tsp. Cloves
1 tsp. Cardamom Seeds
1 tsp. Black Peppercorns
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
Star Anise (optional)

Muscavado/Brown Sugar or HoneyCHAI_03

1. In a small plastic bag, combine the peppercorns, cloves and cardamom. Use a heavy mallet or skillet to crush the spices into coarse pieces.
2. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the milk, crushed spices, cinnamon sticks, ginger pieces, and fresh ground nutmeg. Allow the milk to come to a gentle boil, then cover and turn off the heat. Allow everything to steep for about 15 minutes.
3. While the spicy milk steeps, bring water to a boil. Combine the 4 tea bags with two cups of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for about 4 minutes and discard the tea bags. Add the tea to the warm spicy milk.
4. Put a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter over a pitcher, and strain the spice chunks out of the tea. Put one Tbsp. of muscavado sugar or honey in each cup and pour the tea latte on top. Stir and enjoy warm.
* If you like it cold, add the sweetener and chill the pitcher for a few hours. Do not pour over ice immediately or it will be watery and tasteless. Serve over ice once the chai is completely cold.CHAI_04

Reader Comments (50)

That letter is so cute. :) I really hate growing up and always wish I had a sister, preferably an older one to tell it to me straight. That latte looks delicious!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

I love chai and lattes. FYI, just posted a recipe for a hot or cold horchata latte.

YUM. And I know exactly how you feel and think the same thing every day. These twenties are hard, confusing, and not really that fun a lot of the time. But we keep working. We keep going in the hope of something better. I think it also a matter of constantly refocusing our view of the world, adjusting the dial so we can at least catch a glimmer of happiness.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I love chai, but never take the time to put together the spices and make it myself. I usually use a pre-bagged kind, knowing it can get much better than that! Thanks for this recipe. It sounds amazing.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

I bet you two are some of the best sisters around. I appreciate this recipe so very much right now. I just arrived back home earlier this week from a vacation to India, and I miss it so much! This looks fantastic--much better than some of the questionable chai that I accepted and drank out of courtesy. I'm on it!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Ordinary Vegetarian

I love chai lattes and I always make it fresh like you did, it just doesn't taste the same otherwise!
Looks gorgeous, I haven't tried it with star anise before, will throw that in the next time!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Bowl Of Mush

how lucky she is to have you. us too.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertara

What a sweet letter! This age is a tough one. I'm looking forward to turning 30 this year, as I feel like some of the hardest transitions to adulthood are under my belt. Beautifully written. Life is what you make of it. It's a heck of a journey. I love chai, great recipe :D

Love love love, i would jump off my elliptical for either morris sister, cant wait to mix up the chai, add more spice to my dead end life.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

The 20s aren't as charming as they look from teen-aged years. We might not get what we wanted but I often find myself surprised by the wonderful things I have, and what I've managed to achieve. Beautiful post and beautiful chai.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

i've been searching and searching for a trustworthy homemade chai mix - thank you! i certainly trust yours. :o) have been a loyal reader since i found you a few months ago.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheather

I make a very similar chai and now I'm craving a cupful thanks to your beautiful photos. Sisters must be awesome, brothers are okay, but probably not the same.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

Awe. This made me really miss my sister. She is 6 years older and has always shared a wealth of knowledge...She will be out here soon for my wedding shower and droppin some more knowledge on my a** in that exciting time of our lives ;) Yummy, to by the way.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

What a sweet tribute, literally. :) All of the ladies in your family inspire me too!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon Patton

Always wish I had a sister or at least an older sibling who could give me guidance. Alas, I have brothers and I am the oldest so I have had to do the guiding. My husband will not touch coffee but loves chai, I'd love to make this for him.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Love it, and love you sister. Thanks for the letter :)Needed that

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyd

What a sweet letter to your sis. I love homemade chai lattes, the spices are so much more pronounced - the way I like it.

I completely relate to that feeling of finding yourself suddenly faced with adulthood. Glad I wasn't the only one that was surprised! I'm now married and have a daughter, but I still occasionally have that sense that adulthood, especially young adulthood, just didn't seem like it would be so difficult and confusing.

Thanks for the heartfelt post.

Lovely letter and lovely photos! Being the middle of two sisters, I can appreciate this! And nothing like a good chai. =)

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda @zomppa

What a sweet sweet letter to your sister! Loved it! I like being married to an older guy for the same reason - I can bounce off my concerns and questions on his years of experience. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but the discussing is part of the process.
Love the chai recipe too!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

i always wanted an older sister for this reason. so sweet. i'm oldest to three brothers and have always been the protective big sis. now we're at the age where they're the ones looking out for me. and this is too funny, sara. when i first saw your post pop up in my reader i was steeping a batch of my chai tea base! :) love your recipe!

March 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn

Thanks for this intimate post. I'm also a 23 year old what-am-I-doing-with-my-life female. Right now I'm wading the waters of the corporate world at Amazon, but who knows what's next. I like to look stages of life as courses in a meal, and what I know is that I'm currently savoring my apertif!

I look forward to checking in on here.

March 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSprout

thank you so much for this post!
i was actually wishing for a good chai recipe
just last night,
while serving specialty tea and coffee at
a house party.
i think that i'd rather save this treasure
to share with a smaller number
of close friends though!
the tributes to your sister are
poignant as well.
i'll miss those moments for
the rest of my life.

I am so glad you posted this! I love chai lattes and wanted to find a less complicated recipe for making one from scratch. Thanks!

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

This is such a lovely post. Hang in there. When I hit 40 {gasp}, I realized that I finally know who I am. What a great feeling. It's all a journey and it's all good. And how nice, to have this wonderful chai to share along the way.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

This is going to sound totally cliche but my favorite drink throughout my 20's was a soy chai tea latte. Honest. It was a comfort drink for me and got me through, yes, the ever changing path known as my 20's!! Somehow when 30 hit life has leveled out and and has become less erratic in peaks & valleys of self realization. We're always growing but now it's a much more welcomed adventure for me. Anyways, I will definitely try this recipe Sara, thank you so much! It will bring me much nostalgia I'm sure! :)

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYumi @ Natsukashii

Thank you for having such an awesome blog with such fantastic images. A constant source of inspiration.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim

You amaze me. What a fantastic metaphor for the struggles we've all been through as we grow into our own.

I love your way with words. And a nice spicy chai is right up my alley as well. Thanks for both.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlo

Oh this is lovely. I am actually passing it on to my baby brother who needs the sentiment this week. Wish I could send it with a cup of warm chai.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Very beautiful shots, and such a clean layout. I am impressed.
Keep it up.

And yes, Masala tea is what we usually have in South Indian eateries here in Malaysia.

Looks so comforting! My sister-in-law is coming to visit this week--this will be perfect to share with her.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I drank spiced chai frequently in my early confusing 30's. This hit home. Very sweet.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

What a sweet post. I wish I had an older sister to help me through the [still] confusing age of 28.

Your photos are positively lovely. Thank you for sharing.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea [bella eats]

I feel like that letter could've been between my sister and I. It's exactly what this 27 year old woman needs to hear and say once in a while. That's sweet but most of all positive and helpful for 20 somethings. I'm still struggling and life is full of figuring things out for yourself and I tell myself it will get better. Traveling, a house decorated to complement you and dinner parties with people that are worthwhile is just around the bend. From one big sister to the next, great advice and great recipe!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthedabble

what a lovely, thoughtful post! so sweet and optimistic...and such wonderful insight for your sister. xo, anne

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranne

Thank you so very much for such a lovely, beautiful, honest letter to your sister. I'm feeling similar feelings too lately and it can be frustrating, confusing and draining, and reading your post was inspiring and reassuring.

And thank you for keeping my appetite alive with your gorgeous photos : )

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

[...] + I’m obsessed with chai tea lattes from The Sun Shoppe, and when I’m not in Melbourne, FL I quite miss them. Luckily, Sprouted Kitchen posted a chai latte recipe. [...]

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrine & Pine » Thing

That is a very touching letter to your sister. The chai is beautiful and it's one of my favorite beverages to have.

April 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDivina

Thank you so much for this post. Is it terrible to say, I wish I had a sister who could say something like this to me? I do, however, just feel like I got a big, warm, virtual hug, content with the kind of sad yet serene knowledge that we are all alright in this world. Sometimes the best we can do is just put good, nourishing food in the bellies of the people we love (including ourselves) and have faith that all of the things we need and want in life are out there-- searching for us, and we for them. Thank you for doing your part to make life a little bit brighter for us all, strangers though we may be.

April 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Ohhhh, I needed this. I cannot wait to make this tomorrow morning! :)

April 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMandie @ Vegan Wagon

.. all-time-favourite-must-have-every-day-if-that-were-possible-at-all :)

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEsther

couldn't have said it better myself. she's lucky to have you.

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon Leahy

I love your site and just made this - wonderfully delicious!

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercolleen

I love your site and this recipe is delicious! I just made it.

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercolleen

[...] Chai Latte. I’ve been trying out many different recipes for awhile now, and this one from Sprouted Kitchen is my favorite so far. Enjoy! xo The [...]

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I am heading down in this epic storm in Boston to make my daughter a cup of chai !
I hope you read In Her Wake my memoir you will see why hot tea is so important to keep us steady and happy!
Nancy Rappaport

February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Rappaport

I am sitting here drinking a cup of this and it is absolutely wonderful! It is deliciously spicy and perfect for this cold February night! I am also lucky enough to have a milk frother in the house, so I was able to make it extra special (and make it feel like a perfect replacement for those sickeningly sweet Starbucks chai lattes). I am also going to try it cold tomorrow morning. Thanks for the recipe--I will make this over and over again!

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

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