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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Feeling Chai and Mighty

Cold weather is upon us and one of the best ways to warm yourself up is a seasonally appropriate beverage. I usually burrow myself under the blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, mulled cider, or, my personal favorite, a masala chai tea. It has the right amount of sweetness and spice that lingers throughout a frigid night or a lazy morning.

There are a few basic ingredients in a masala chai that can vary by tradition or preference. It typically involves black tea, milk, cardamom, and cinnamon sticks. Some keep their chai distinct by adding peppercorns and cloves. There are many recipes, but I try to keep mine personal. As much as I love the classic chai recipe, I've added a few more distinct ingredients that you can easily purchase from the spice shop. Let's start with the classic.

Chai Tea 1-2-3

1 tablespoon loose leaf black tea
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks
2 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
3 whole cloves (optional)
3 peppercorns (optional)
3 teaspoons of sugar (optional)

1. Put all the ingredients in a small pot and simmer on low to medium heat for at least 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Try not to boil the mixture to prevent milk from curdling.
2. Strain all the solids and pour the liquid in a nice wintery mug. Garnish with one cinnamon stick if you so prefer.

Next up, my own version of chai tea. With my bartending background and a focus on DIY-mixology, experimentation and understanding flavor combinations is second nature. And with so many options at Bazaar Spices, I couldn't help myself. I chose the funky, peaty, caffeine-free rooibos red tea because my daily caffeine intake has already reached its limit. Vanilla soy milk adds the right amount of sweetness and vanilla note. Cubeb berries have notes of allspice and Sichuan pepper offer heat and citrus. It's unique and fun to drink!

Olive's Chai

1 tablespoon loose leaf rooibos tea
1.5 cups of vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup hot water
2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks
2 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
2 whole cloves
2 cubeb berries
2 Sichuan peppercorns

1. Put all the ingredients in a French press except for the vanilla soy milk.
2. Steep for about 5-10 minutes until fragrant. Using the plunger, slowly press down all the spices until the liquids and solids are separated. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
3. Microwave the soy milk until warm, about 30 seconds or so.
4. Carefully add the steeped tea into the mug and stir.


  1. these sound wonderful! I'm definitely going to try these soon.