*NOTE: Any number of black tea varieties can be used in this recipe: Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, etc. You'll have to try several types of tea to find out which you prefer.
Pour the water into a heavy bottomed pan. Add the spices and tea bags (or loose tea placed in a tea infuser or muslin cloth).
Bring to a boil, partially cover pan and simmer about 20 minutes to allow spices to intensify.
Add the milk or milk substitute and heat through WITHOUT boiling until hot.
Pour chai tea through a strainer into tea cups. Add sweetener of choice if desired.