As you may know, I recently began teaching Ashtanga yoga. One of the studio's traditions is for the teacher to bring some good Indian, yogi chai for students to enjoy Sunday mornings after class. So, of course, I've been perfecting my recipe, trying it out on my husband, and drinking it throughout the week. It's such a lovely, comforting ritual, a full sensory experience. The warming blend of spices smells like heaven, and the warm cup in between your hands as you drink calms the mind and body.
Interestingly, chai tea has tons of health benefits. It's an Ayurvedic drink, said to help with decreasing anxiety, improving digestion and circulation, balancing blood sugar, helping with weight loss, lowering blood pressure, and relieving PMS symptoms. The spices used have wonderful antioxidants and antibacterial properties, believed to help ward off cancer, lower inflammation, and boost the immune system. Plus, it tastes good, and makes your house smell wonderful as it's brewing!
I like to make up a big batch of the concentrate, store it in the fridge, and reheat throughout the week, adding in the milk and honey when I'm ready to drink it. Below is the recipe I've been using:
- 8 cups of water
- 8 slices of fresh ginger root
- 50 black peppercorns (add less if your resting temperature already runs hot)
- 30 cloves
- 30 cardamom pods cracked open
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 black teabags (you can find these in bulk at any supermarket)
- raw honey to taste (I have been adding 1 spoonful/glass)
Bring the water to a boil, add in all the spices, then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes before adding the black tea. After adding black tea, let simmer for another 15 minutes. If you want your tea less caffeinated, add the teabags later on, but do let the spices simmer for no less than 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and strain your mixture. When you're ready to enjoy, add in milk and honey to taste, heating until the milk has warmed. I have been using equal parts milk and tea, and 1 spoonful of honey per glass I'm making. You should play around with ratios according to taste as some like a sweeter chair, others like a spicier chai, or milkier chai. I have been using organic whole milk but almond, coconut, or soy would also make a lovely combo. Optional ingredients also include star anise, and fennel, but I haven't tried these out in my chai yet. Again, you can save the tea concentrate and then heat up throughout the week. Enjoy!