A couple of questions here. Let me start by saying that I love a warm mug of chai latte, especially in the cold winter months. Cocoa is usually too sweet for me, but a spicy, warm chai latte is juuust right. I know it's not the best, but I love the convenience of the instant chai latte powders. The one I get from the Indian grocery isn't too bad. But...I keep seeing recipes for making a homemade mix, and I thought it would make a nice Christmas present. And of course, how nice to make it special by grinding my own spices. Yes, I know, I've waited til the last minute again, but here I am, after having visited the Indian grocery today, and sitting here sniffing the glorious aroma of a plastic shopping bag full of cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves and the rest. I wish you could smell it, it's amazing! So here are the two questions I have. The first is about the cardamom pods. When I cook with them, I just throw the whole thing in, and fish them out as I'm eating. But I realized that I've never ground my own before, and when I googled whether to grind the whole thing, or just the seeds inside, there seems to be a difference of opinion. One side of the argument says to remove the seeds and grind them seperately, while the other side says just chuck the whole thing in and grind it altogether. Maybe sift out any fibrous bits that may remain. Do any of you have experience with this, what do you do? The second question. Most of the instant mixes include powdered milk, plain non dairy creamer, and vanilla non dairy creamer, so that you can just add the mix to hot water. I like the idea, since I don't always keep milk in the house any more. I don't mind using powdered milk, but I'd rather leave out the non dairy creamers with all the artificial stuff they contain. I was just wondering if any of you may have made this with powdered milk only, and if so, how was it? I'm going to see if I can mix up a tiny amount, enough for one cup, to see what I think, but I figured someone may have already tried it, and might offer some feedback. I think the freshly ground spices alone will make it yummy. And I found instant tea with no other ingredients. I know, it's not like brewing it fresh, but when I come in from snow blowing the driveway, and I'm chilled to the bone, I want it FAST! And for me, it's as much about the aroma as it is the taste, so I'm thinking if it tastes even half as good as that bag of spices smells, I'll be happy. Any help you can offer will be appreciated.