Homemade Chai Tea

December 4, 2008

There's something about the cooler months that seem to make spices smell more fragrant. At least to me. Here in Seattle the winter air is crisp and clean. While standing at a street corner waiting for the light to change I catch a whiff of the chai tea I cup in my cold hands. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves all find their way up to tickle my nose with their sweet aroma. Mmmmm...

I was fortunate to recently be the recipient of a little baggie of chai tea spices made by the Indian mother of a friend of a friend. I wanted the recipe but because this woman was too many degrees away from me I didn't want to be a bother by asking. So I asked my friend Kailash, who also kindly told me how they brew it in India. Whether I can do it properly is another thing, but I certainly will try as I'm sure it's loads better than my mass-produced teabag version.

Chai Tea

7 cups water
1 tbsp fennel seeds
6 green cardamom pods
12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp loose leaf Orange Pekoe tea
6 plus tsp sugar
1 cup of milk (you may substitute soymilk)

With a mortar and pestle, slightly grind spices; just enough to pop them open to release their flavor and fragrance.

Add six teaspoons of sugar to the spices, combine with water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, then bring to a boil again. Reduce heat once more, then simmer until the mixture becomes saffron colored.

Add tea leaves to the water and bring to a boil again. Lower and reduce twice as you did in the first step. Add milk and bring to a boil again.

Strain into cups and serve. Add more sugar to taste if necessary.

Makes about 8 cups.



Greg Bulmash's picture

I have a loose-leaf black clove-flavored tea (can't remember where I got it) that is great for this. I make a sweet mixture of warm milk, honey, and ground cinnamon, then brew up a pot of the clove-flavored tea and mix them at 2:1 (tea to milk) ratio. It doesn't bring the cardamom and fennel to the party, but it makes a very nice beverage that is close enough to chai for my wife and I.

eddy's picture

very nice blog

Jescel's picture

this sounds so good... i actually tried brewing one myself, but my recipe doesn't call for the orange pekoe tea, but has pepper in it... guess they do it differently too.

Thumbbook's picture

Im gonna give this a try, this is perfect for my stuffy nose :)

Sean's picture

Mmmm ... I loves me some chai. Just perfect for chilly winter days.

Brie's picture

I LOVE chai tea!!!!! It is my favoritest drink ever!!!


Ruby's picture


I used raw honey, organic raw milk, & organic vanilla extract@ the end <3 SO GOOD^^