There is something so comforting and warming about cup of chai. It doesn’t have the same bitterness that coffee does and evokes feelings of coziness similar to a cup of herbal tea. The spiciness of chai is amazing and it’s perfect for the cooler months. On a rare rainy day here in California, my partner worked furiously in the kitchen creating the perfect blend of spices for this drink (I have to give credit where it’s due!). To say that we sampled a lot of chai on that day would be an understatement! :)
Spices are more than just for flavor though. Traditional spices in chai are cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper and cardamom and each of these spices has a superpower that improves health in your body.
I don’t know if there is a more delicious spice out there, in my opinion. I sprinkle cinnamon on everything-- oatmeal, smoothies, toast, apples, almond butter-- and it’s a bonus to know it’s also one of the most powerful spices in balancing blood sugar. Cinnamon can work to keep your blood sugar stable so that you feel fewer highs and lows in energy throughout the day. Sprinkle some on your breakfast or snack tomorrow and keep your energy in check.
Ginger is an incredibly healing spice. It’s a go-to for boosting your immune system when you are feeling under-the-weather and also works to help you feel less nauseous when you are experiencing motion sickness. The spicy flavor of ginger is delicious and also great in smoothies and soups. Add a bit of fresh ginger to your next green smoothie for an added kick of flavor!
Cloves are packed with a nutrient called manganese, which can help control blood sugar levels and support bone and joint health. As a bonus, manganese can help create energy in your body, which is just the kick start that you might need in the morning! The spicy taste of cloves lends itself perfectly to chai and the smell might remind you of holiday baking as you often find it in holiday sweets.
I used to avoid pepper as I thought it was too spicy, but have learned to love it. It’s especially beneficial in our bodies with high contents of manganese (like clove) and vitamin K, which supports blood clotting and bone health. Black pepper has also been shown to improve digestion and support intestinal health, so start adding a bit to your meals! It can help break down the fat in your body and give you energy, which makes it pretty awesome in my book.
Cardamom is sometimes referred to as the Queen of Spices for it’s super healing powers. Like cloves and black pepper, this spice is an excellent source of manganese, which can help with muscle spasms. Cardamom can has also been studied for cancer and heart protection. This spice smells spicy and sweet at the same time and is super versatile. Cardamom can be found in curry dishes or in sweet things when combined with things like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Let’s Make Chai
As you can see, chai is not only delicious but extremely healing and helpful to your body. If you want to skip the caffeine, you can simply make this recipe by omitting the black tea and drink as a warm milk beverage with the spices. It’s really delicious that way and a great treat at the end of the day or in the afternoon when caffeine is no longer a great choice. (I think you could also make this with a ginger herbal tea and just omit the ginger powder!) If you’re drinking this in the morning and looking for the additional benefits from the tea, English Breakfast is the perfect choice of tea. It’s mild flavor lends itself to the taste of all the delicious spices in your drink.
I hope you’ll try this and see how easy it is to create this delicious fall beverage!
3-4 English Breakfast tea bags (or omit for chai milk)
1 c unsweetened non dairy milk (we used almond)
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp cardamom
⅛ tsp cloves
Pinch of black pepper
1 tsp vanilla*
2-3 TBSP maple syrup*
* If using a non-dairy milk that is vanilla flavored and sweetened, omit vanilla and maple syrup.
Brew tea as usual, noting steeping time so you don’t get bitter tea. Use 2 cups of water to steep your two tea bags in to make two servings of tea. Add spices to a pot and heat with choice of non dairy milk over medium heat until warm. Add milk to tea and stir to combine. Warm your hands around this cup of goodness and enjoy!
TIP: There will be spices at the bottom of your cup. Prevent this by stirring occasionally or by straining out your milk through a nut milk bag before adding to your tea.