The Spread of Serious Chai Tea: 220 Volt Chai

Tea so chic, spice so nice


Unique spice combinations provide an extra kick to this chai tea.

Photo by manthatcooks/Courtesy of Flickr/

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220 Volt Chai
Sheron Buchele

Serves 4 to 5

This is a “stay-up-all-night-writing-that-presentation-and-then-go-sell-it” chai. It’s an “oh, my stars, I’ve got three days’ work to cram into the next five hours” chai. It’s a boot to the head and a bite to the tongue.

• 1/4 teaspoon cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
• 1 tablespoon chopped gingerroot, or
• 1/2 teaspoon dried, cut-and-sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
• 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
• 1 teaspoon allspice
• 1 teaspoon dried Siberian ginseng
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 whole star anise
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 3 cups cold water
• 1 heaping tablespoon strong black
tea leaves
• 2 cups milk
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Sugar to taste

1. Bruise or crush the spices in a mortar and pestle. Simmer them with the water in a saucepan, tightly covered, for 10 minutes.

2. Warm a teapot with hot water, pour it out, add the tea leaves, and strain the hot spice water into the pot. Cover the pot with a towel or tea cozy and steep for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the milk to just below simmering. Off heat, add the vanilla.

4. To serve, spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (or more to taste) into each cup. Fill the cup halfway with tea and top up with hot milk. Stir.

When she isn’t tracking down food trends and scoping out gourmet groceries, Susan Clotfelter edits herb books for Interweave Press in Loveland, Colorado.

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