1/2 of a star anise star
10-12 whole cloves
6-7 whole allspice
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon bark (or 2 short sticks)
6-7 whole white peppercorns
1 cardamon pod opened to the seeds (not pictured)
1 cup water
4-6 cups whole milk
2 heaping tablespoons of a high quality full-bodied broad-leaf black tea (Ceylon, or English Breakfast if a broad-leaf Ceylon is not available)
1 In a 2-qt saucepan, add spices to 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil; remove from heat; let steep for 5-20 minutes, depending on how strong a spice flavor you want.
2 Add 4-6 cups of whole milk to the water and spices. If you don’t have whole milk, you can also use non-fat or low-fat milk, just add some cream to it, a few tablespoons. Bring the milk and spice mixture just to a boil and remove from heat.
3 Add the tea to the milk and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes to taste. (Option at this point – reheat to a simmer and remove from heat.) You can add sugar at this point, or serve without sugar and let people put the amount of sugar in they want. Traditionally, sugar is added before serving.
4 Strain into a pot. Serve. Add sugar to taste.