Chai tea

Photographer: Emma
Makes 2 cups

I am an avid tea drinker.  Not of powdered leftovers packaged into tea bags masquerading as tea.  Oh no – only tea of the lose-leaf variety can be found on the shelves of my kitchen! It is the ritual of tea-making that I find so compelling.  Selecting the tea, warming the pot, steeping the leaves, choosing the tea cup/mug/glass (my selection of tea drinking vessels is as vast as my selection of tea), pouring the tea, and finally sitting down to enjoy a steaming hot cuppa.  Discussing such rituals whilst sharing perfectly brewed cups of Lady Grey (a flat favourite), my flatmate Chi ventured to suggest I might be a tea snob.  He’s right.  There is no denying it.  But I don’t mind.

When the team chose spices as this month’s theme, I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe for Chai tea.  We make this at the flat in a very haphazard sort of way, throwing in whichever spices take our fancy.  As a consequence the flavours change subtly every time it is served so that sometimes it is quite spicy, and at other times more sweet.  I have to admit though, I think my brother Tim makes the best brew.  The flavours in his Chai are always perfectly balanced and it is always just sweet enough.  The last time Tim made Chai I watched over his shoulder and made a mental note of the ingredients.  So really this recipe is his.


1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
1 star anise
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
4tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
1 1/2 tbsp honey, or to taste


1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. It is important you leave it to simmer for this suggested time as it allows the spices to develop and infuse.