The Spread of Serious Chai Tea: Caffeine-free Chai

Tea so chic, spice so nice


Pour a hot cup of chai and enjoy the spicy flavor.

Photo by Richard Masoner/Courtesy of Flickr/

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Caffeine-free Chai
Caroline MacDougall

Serves 5

Rooibos is a deep red herbal tea from South Africa that’s available in some health-food stores. It has a body and flavor similar to those of black tea but is free of caffeine. This spiced version is a rich beverage to which you can add milk and honey.

To save time, crush and blend the spices and store them for up to a week in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Or simmer the spices in advance, then bottle and freeze the spiced liquid in convenient quantities to make into chai later.

• 2 cinnamon sticks, shredded
• 3 slices gingerroot
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chicory
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon star anise
• 1 teaspoon cloves
• 2 tablespoons rooibos
• 5 cups boiling water

1. Crush and blend the spices. Add the rooibos and mix well.

2. Warm a teapot with hot water, then pour it out. Put the rooibos/spice blend into the pot and pour in the boiling water. Cover the pot with a towel or tea cozy and steep for 10 minutes.

3. Strain the tea into cups, adding warmed milk and sweetener if desired.

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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