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Freshly Ground Spice Chai Tea

Skip the expensive take-out chai cause fresh is always best. Traditionally this tea is made with black tea.  Green tea makes a less caffeinated choice. Rooibos (aka red bush tea) is free of caffeine and contains Aspalathin, a flavonoid present in medicinal herbs used to treat skin and circulatory disorders. This mix of fresh spices can also be ground, packaged in a colorful tin and given as a gift.

2 sticks of cinnamon

15 whole cloves

20 whole cardamom
20 whole black peppercorns
1 star anise
4 cups water
8 slices fresh ginger root, ¼ " thick
1-2 tablespoons rooibos, green or black tea
1 cup milk
Honey to taste

Break up the cinnamon sticks by hand.  Put cinnamon pieces, cloves, cardamom seeds peppercorns and star anise in a coffee grinder and give them a buzz to break them up.  Put water in a pot and add the spices and ginger root and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 30-60 minutes with the lid on.  Add rooibos, green or black tea during the last 5 minutes.  

Add milk and reheat if needed. Strain into cup and stir in sweetener.

Preparation time: 40 -70 minutes
Makes 4 - 5 cups


Megan Wegert
Awesome! I make my own chai all the time. You can add whatever you want! I use basically the same as you. I don't grind them though. I put them in the water and let it simmer for 20mnts. Take them out, put in my rooibos or black tea and honey and let that simmer for 10 minutes. Then add milk and warm.
January 5, 2011, 9:49 am

Cindy Wambeam
I'm a big ol' tea geek, so it was fun to see tea featured on today's episode. Huge round of applause for actually using loose instead of bagged! One note, though -- green tea does NOT have less caffeine than black. This is a myth that has unfortunately permeated American tea culture, even to the point of it being promoted by some vendors and shop owners. Caffeine amounts can vary from plant to plant, row to row, season to season. However, the processing that is used once the leaves are picked (to create black, green, white, oolong) does not significantly alter the caffeine. Other elements in tea keep caffeine from having the same impact as coffee, but for anyone who strictly needs to watch their caffeine intake...decaf or non-tea tisanes (like rooibos) are the only way to do this.
January 5, 2011, 10:25 am

Bunny Fong
ooooh, Jane + Phil! Finally. AND chai. wow.
January 5, 2011, 11:03 am

Lori Cooper
I LOVE homemade chai and your recipe's a bit different than my usual one. Can't wait to try it. Chai is just what's needed on this chilly day!
January 5, 2011, 12:35 pm

Thank you for this! My daughters and I drink copious amounts of tea and we're trying this tonight! Hubby and I are trying to get off caffeine so we're going to enjoy the rooibus version in the mornings!
January 5, 2011, 6:34 pm

Kyndale Pease
Jane, he's cute! Right on!
January 5, 2011, 9:27 pm

Ruth Airhart
One question: if you choose to make this for a gift, do you just fully grind the spices in the coffee grinder and then substitute powdered milk, tea, and ginger for the fresh stuff?
January 6, 2011, 1:53 pm

Cynthia Lair
Ruth, I would grind the spices, put them in a packet, tie some gingerroot on top and include the recipes. (Powdered milk doesn't taste very good..)
January 6, 2011, 3:23 pm

Rebecca Pouliot
So, did she just throw the whole cardamom pods into the grinder, husks and all? Is that what you do?
January 6, 2011, 3:57 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Rebecca, YES! They are, of course, strained out before drinking.
January 7, 2011, 8:20 am

Allison sharpe
This recipe looks great! Being big on teas and infusions myself, I went through a big Rooibos phase and don't really enjoy the flavour of it anymore. I think this would be really good with Honeybush tea which is also naturally caffeine-free and delicious. Here's the wikipedia link: Numi is the brand I use Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe. This is my first time visiting this site and I already love it!
January 10, 2011, 3:37 am

Steve K
My wife and I have really been enjoying this chai recipe. I've brewed several double batches you posted the recipe. When I had to replenish my spices, I discovered that Cost Plus World Market had them available at a significantly lower price than the grocery stores. I just thought I might pass that tip along.
January 26, 2011, 11:50 am

JP Bulow
Great video! I love how the two parents say, YES!, in response to Jane getting a sitter.
June 23, 2011, 8:55 pm

Patty Plumb
I haven't made this yet, but when I make chai tea, I bring water to a boil and pour over chai tea bag in cup. Stir in a table spoon of molasses until disolved. Add a splash or two of skim canned milk. The molasses and canned milk make it really rich and creamy.
October 31, 2011, 10:33 pm

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