The Spread of Serious Chai Tea: Caffeine-free Chai

Tea so chic, spice so nice

| August/September 1998

  • Pour a hot cup of chai and enjoy the spicy flavor.
    Photo by Richard Masoner/Courtesy of Flickr/

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.

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