Indian Railroad-style Chai: this is the real stuff served out of trays and passed through the windows at railroad stops all over India. If you can find mamri tea pearls from India, use 1/4 cup of that in place of the tea bags.
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan; add fennel, cloves, and cardamom. Continue boiling water for 3 minutes.
Stir milk into the water and return mixture to a low boil; add tea bags, reduce heat to low, and boil until the tea has a strong, but not bitter flavor, 2 to 3 minutes.
Strain tea into 4 tea mugs; sweeten with sugar to individual tastes.
It's important to use a cheap granulated tea. For years I tried to make this using the best Darjeeling and Asaam teas that I could find and it never came out right. The cheap granulated tea (basically what we put in tea bags) is the key. It takes a strong-flavored tea to stand up to the flavor imparted by the spices.