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Chai Tea for the Spiritually Curious

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
6 people
520 minutes
Thanks to my friend Tom Maxwell for sharing this delightful cuppa with me. Here’s my version with a few additions.
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  • sugar and milk, for serving
  • 4 tea bags (earl grey, assam, or another black tea of your choice
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 40 black peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 fennel seeds
  • 8 slices fresh ginger


  1. 1
    Combine the ginger, fennel, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, and water in a pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, being careful not to boil.
  2. 2
    Turn off the heat, add the tea, and steep for 5 minutes. Any longer, and your tea will get bitter.
  3. 3
    Strain into a teapot or pitcher and pass with sugar and milk if desired. Sit back and wonder at how the combination of ingredients has come together for your enjoyment.
  4. 4
    Melissa’s Notes:
  5. 5
    To make Iced Chai, use 3 c. cold water instead of 6, then pour the strained tea over a pitcher full of ice.
  6. 6
    4 whole star anise may be substituted for the fennel.
  7. 7
    Dried orange peel, slivered almonds, and/or dried rose petals may also be added to taste.