Peel the ginger and weigh it for best results (15g) so you get the right level of ginger and kick in the recipe. This recipe comes out wonderfully spiced and a nice kick, but not overly so at all.
If making the milk version, add 3 1/2 cups water to a medium pot. If wanting to only use water, add 4 1/2 cups.
Add the cinnamon sticks, peeled and grated ginger (I just grated it right over the pot and roughly chopped the remaining that I couldn't finish grating. Add the cardamom, crushed black peppercorns, allspice, cloves and syrup.
Give it a good stir and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low to a gentle simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Proceed to the next step if using milk or tea bags. Otherwise, it's done at this point for just the water and caffeine-free version.
Now, if using the milk, add the 1/2 cup milk now after the 15 minutes. We are only using 1/2 cup here because we don't want a bland overly milky drink, which would just dilute all those wonderful spices too much! I find 1/2 cup to be perfect. Add the milk, give it a stir and bring back to a boil, let it simmer 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat.
If using a tea bag, add 1-2 tea bags per preference of strength and cover with a lid. Let it steep 3-5 minutes.
Strain all of the masala chai over a large bowl with a very fine mesh strainer to catch all of the ginger bits, cinnamon sticks, etc. and any tea bags.
Drink and enjoy! And AS GOOD as this is right away, the flavors even further intensify and taste even MORE incredible the next day. So, store any leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the morning and drink that mug of spice heaven.