One of the most common questions we are asked is: "What is the best way to make chaga tea?"
I hesitate to say that we have the "best" method out there, since there many different opinions on how to best prepare chaga. However, this is the method that we have developed over several years and it works well for us and our customers. We are always open to opinions and if you think you have a better method please share it with us.
How to make chaga tea
Step One: Assemble what you need
You will need a large pot, a strainer, a jar for the finished product and of course chaga.
There are different opinions grinding or leaving the chaga whole for brewing. We find no need to grind up the chaga. Chaga is porous enough that all the goodies will be extracted from 'golf ball' or slightly larger chunks. Plus it makes it much easier to deal with clean up after brewing. Weather you want to freeze and save your chunks for later brews, or dry then and use for tinder; it is much harder to deal with ground up powder.
Step Two: Add water
Step Three: Bring to a boil
This is where our method diverges from some of the others and opinions differ. Some say never to boil chaga for fear of 'burning up' some of the active constituents. We have tried 'no boil' methods before but always found they produce a much weaker tasting tea.
I think the happy medium, and what we suggest, is to bring it up to just boiling and then cut the heat to low. So it is only boiling hard for a minute or less.
Step Four: Let Steep
Opinions also differ a bit here, but we find that you will want to let the chaga steep on low heat for at least 2 hours. The longer you let it steep, the stronger it will be, and there is no problem leaving it on the heat for many hours or even over night. In fact for the second and third brewing of the same chunks you will want to leave it in for longer, as the brew gets weaker after each time.
Step Five: Pour off your tea
Once you are satisfied that the chunks have brewed long enough, let the tea cool and pour it off into a container. We like to use two quart glass jars.
Step Six: Store or make more
The great thing about chaga is the same chunks can be used over and over, although the tea gets a bit weaker each time. We like to make a big batch all at once; using the same chunks for three batches and storing the tea in the fridge.
Optional Step A: Freeze your chunks for later use
You may not want to make so much tea at once, so the best option for saving chunks for later use is to freeze them.
Optional Step B: Dry your chunks
We don't suggest you use this method of drying if you are intending to use the chunks for making tea again. However, if you would like to use your 'spent' chaga for tinder or incense this is the way to go. Just make sure to put the oven on as low as it will go and leave the door cracked a bit for the moisture to escape.