Chai My Way

It’s chai season here. Although it’s my favorite hot tea and I drink it throughout the year, the chillier months seem to claim it as their own, and who am I to argue?

I first tried chai while living in community and working in the kitchen at Omega Institute in Upstate New York. One of my supervisors was Kim from Michigan. She brewed up new (to me) and wonderful concoctions almost every day. Once I smelled and sampled her simmering chai, I knew that it would become a part of my life, til death do us part. Before the end of the season, she was kind enough to include its ingredients in a personal letter that I keep in a recipe book to this day. The recipe below is a combination of her ingredients and the measurements of each that I’ve found works best over years of making it.

Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY Campus

In the past, I never really thought of the nutritional benefits of spices in the same way as regular foods, but I’ve learned they are surprisingly healthy. Each of the ingredients in this recipe contributes to health & well-being in a number of ways. In addition to its sublime smell and taste, chai is a nutritional powerhouse among teas.

According to, fresh ginger not only helps with nausea, which is the one benefit most of us are familiar with, but can also help lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and reduce A1c levels. Cloves may benefit bone health, liver function, and reduce stomach ulcers. Cinnamon has the potential to reduce chronic inflammation, protect from free radical damage, and lower the risk for heart disease. Black pepper may help with gut health, pain relief, and appetite reduction. Cardamom is shown to fight cavities, improve digestion, and lessen anxiety. The few studies that have been done on bay leaves show that they may help prevent seizures, kidney stones, and kill cancer cells. Pure Chinese star anise has been used for thousands of years to fight viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. And black tea may help lower blood pressure, reduce stroke risk, and improve focus. Impressive for an humble tea, huh?

Chai recipes abound on the internet, all with varied flavor profiles. But this one, made super-spicy, is my favorite. You’ll find the taste out of this world, and the aroma just perfect for the holidays.

(And if this recipe sounds good to you, please check out my other healthy, delicious recipes in Micro of the Macro’s new Categories link!)

Makes 1/2 gallon

8 cups water
2-3 inches of thinly sliced ginger (choose your spice level)
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
8 green cardamom pods
8-12 whole cloves (choose your spice level)
3 whole star anise
6 black or Earl Grey tea bags
Sweetener of choice (optional)
Milk of choice (optional – for lattes)

Place first 8 ingredients (through star anise) in a large covered pot & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for one hour. Remove from heat and add tea bags to steep for 20 minutes. Squeeze out tea bags, strain & enjoy with or without sweetener of your choice. Or add sweetener & milk of your choice for a delicious chai latte. Store extra (without milk) in the fridge in a covered glass container for 3-4 days.

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

46 thoughts on “Chai My Way

  1. I had chai for the first time many years ago made by folks who had lived several years in Nepal. It was milk/latte chai tea and I thought it must be the most comforting wonderful drink I had ever had. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice Lisa!
    Love chai and you are right in sync with Diwali. I had some last night my Indian friend made when we cebrated Diwali. She only used, Cardoman and fresh ginger and a tea bag with mild.. soooo delicious. ❤️ Cindy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t drink chai tea often but I do like it very much. I attribute my lack of drinking it because of where I am and the warm, muggy climate plus the inability of being able to buy some of the ingredients at local grocery stores. However, this recipe is very appealing to me and since I will be traveling to my sister’s home for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays and then again for the Christmas/New Year holidays, I will be trying YOUR recipe soon! I had never heard of “star anise” until I read your blog. My late Mother, who as you know, was an Italian woman LOVED anise and would have to buy it in Huntsville or Birmingham. I had to “google” star anise to learn the difference! I’m looking forward to trying your recipe soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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