Rooibos Chai

Nothing like a spicy, warm, and smooth mug of tea to start the day–especially when you are on vacation.

While searching for recipes that I thought looked good, I read a blog post about how saying “chai tea” is redundant and incorrect, so I’m trying to say it right–but it goes against years of Starbucks training.

So what to call this?  I really wanted to say rooibos chai tea, but I know that’s not right!  Chai rooibos?  Rooibos chai? Chai tea rooibos?  Masala (the blend of spices I used) rooibos chai?  Chai masala rooibos?

I’m just gonna stick with the simple version:

Rooibos Chai (serves 2)

  • 1 heaping t rooibos tea
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole peppercorns
  • 6 fennel seeds
  • milk and sugar to taste

Most importantly–you must toast the spices!  I used the toaster oven at 350 and toasted for 4-5 minutes, until they were touched with golden color and smelled amazing.

Next, crush ’em up with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder–but don’t go too small.  You just need to release the flavor, not grind them to a fine powder that can fit through a tea sieve.

Make the rooibos tea–I used a Bodum, which was perfect for straining the spices later.  You can make the tea (just boil the water and add the tea) while the spices are toasting and let it steep.  The awesome thing about rooibos tea is that you can let it steep all day long and it will never get bitter, just nice and strong.

Now we don’t have to go all day, but a good 15-20 minutes would be nice.

Once the spices are crushed, toss them in with the rooibos tea and let it continue to steep–like I said before, 15-20 minutes is good, but feel free to go longer.  I did about 20 minutes and it had a nice assertive flavor that was still so smooth.  Warm up some milk (I used about 1/6 C) and add the tea (and sugar if you want).

Breathe in deeply.



I love this tea.  I want to make it every day. 

You can mix up a big batch of the spices, toasted and crushed, to have on hand and use when you get a craving.  Which, after you try this tea, will probably be often.  You can also get creative–use the spices I used, or take some out, or add more–for instance, adding a few more peppercorns will make a more intense and spicy tea.

It’s worth the prep.

For breakfast everyday I’ve been eating some variation of a greek yogurt parfait: plain greek yogurt, fruit (bananas or clementines), Ancient Harvest cereal, and raisins.  Mason jar=perfect height for a filling breakfast that’s fun to eat, too.

I’m going to go out for a quick run, then it’s time for a late lunch and board game playing with Mom, Fritz, and Jordi.

Sorry you can’t be here for this, Dad.

I know how you love board games.



Filed under Beverages

6 responses to “Rooibos Chai

  1. Sarah

    hey, walk down and give me some of that deliciousness! I ate those cookies like they were going out of style yesterday.

  2. That is so cool! I am a tea-aholic and I always buy mine at You-know-who-vana tea store, it’s my favorite tea ever. Now I’m gonna try making it myself. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Hmm we had Rooibos Chai on offer at a local Tea shop for a while. It’s my favorite tea blend. And since there isn’t much price difference between regular and chai I haven’t really bothered making my own. I do want to to get a more intense flavour though.

    I steep it normaly like rooibos and it’s just fine as well.

  4. Renee

    I came across this post over at foodgawker. I too am an avid chai tea lover. Ha ha ha, I read the same post. However it’s really hard to untrain the statement. Thanks for this recipe.

  5. I just love a spiced rooibos tea. I gave up drinking it at work as there were just too many who didn’t like the cardamom scent (they should try turkish cardamom coffee!) but keep a supply of teabags here.

    Your “fresh spices each time” recipe is just wonderful. I had already discovered that rooibos can be made and left wihtout any nasty flavours – it will be even better with freshly toasted spices.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your recipe, Michelle down-under in Wellington, New Zealand

  6. 🙂
    Oh, I’m glad you took my post in the spirit it’s intended!
    Roiboos masala chai is what I would call this tea. I love roiboos but have just never added any warming spices to it!

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