Warming Winter Chai

a cup of chai

Chai becomes my favourite cup at this time of year. Such a warming, nourishing drink – it’s perfect for wintery days. I’ve tried lots of pre mixed teas but none comes close to own made.

Before we carry on – let’s talk about milk because the milk maketh the chai! Creamy fat is a chai essential. Whole milk is the cats pajamas. If you can’t have dairy, I find a 50/50 rice + coconut milk mix perfect. (Trade Aid Coconut Milk is the best – thick, creamy and additive free) Nut milk is a no go for me, no matter how gently I simmer it always splits and curdles!

1 mug of winter chai

4cm cinnamon stick
4 green cardamon pods
good pinch fennel seeds
3 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
Crush all the dry spices under a rolling pin or with a mortar and pestle. Make up a bulk batch for tired days when you don’t have the energy for this extra step.

Put the spices into a small pot with
1c milk
1/2c water
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 big tsp black tea or a lovely organic tea bag

Gently bring to a simmer until the brew is as dark as you like it (3 – 5 minutes), then strain into your favourite mug over a big spoon of honey.

Use more cinnamon or less ginger and so on. Chai is forgiving – have a play. This here recipe is just how I like it.


  1. Yum, every year without fail you inspire me to try something new, wholesome and decadent. Funny how it’s the home made stuff we make that seems decadent, when many years ago it was normal to eat good quality food. Thanks for the inspiration my friend ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lorraine Blenkhorn says

    Hi Kath

    I’ve tried to access the Chai recipe, but somehow I can’t get it. Could be my skill level, but no luck.

  3. Shelley Shelling says

    That sounds delicious! We’re in flu season at the moment, so I think I’m going to make some if this to cheer me up! ๐Ÿ˜Š. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Hey Kath, I used to be a bit obsessed with chai and would take my turn to make huge batches for 50 people or more. I have one tip that I think makes a big difference — I very gently simmer all the spices, often for a long time, and then bring it to the boil, take it off the heat, dump in pre-measured quantities of tea (way less than 1 tsp/person when you’re making large quantities) and brew it for a couple of minutes. I don’t to boil the tea, just brew it. Strain it all out, add milk to the tea and reheat. (If you do it this way, soy milk won’t curdle. But I wouldn’t press soy on anyone.) Like you, I allow for half milk/half water so the tea needs to be measured out for the final quantity you’re making, not the volume of spiced water. (Have I just over-complicated everything?)

    The other thing is the base keeps really well. So I still make a couple of litres of it at a time even just for the two of us and bottle the tea and spice mixture ie no milk. That keeps well in the fridge. Anytime you want chai, you just fill half a cup with the base, top it up with milk and pop it on the stove. And if friends visit who can’t take dairy for instance, you can serve theirs black or with whatever milk substitute they brought with them.

    Your idea of using a coconut blend is interesting!

    Back in the day of brewing huge batches it was sweetened to hell with raw sugar and I couldn’t stomach that now. But the spices can be a bit bitter so I agree a bit of honey does improve things. Now after all that, I want some ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. PS I don’t use cloves but star anise is a star ingredient in chai. Do try it ๐Ÿ™‚ A little goes a long way, just one little “arm” of it.