Teas & Tisanes Tuesday: Vanilla Chai Rooibos Teaa

Teas & Tisanes Tuesday: Vanilla Chai Rooibos Teaa

It might not be the dead of winter but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a delicious cup of chai tea over ice!

I love a good cup of Chai tea, don't you?


 CHAI TEA MIX with Orange and Rooibos

Serving Size: Makes about 800ml or 8-10 cups

Orange and rooibos tea are a wonderful marriage. If you have an orange tree or one nearby that you can nab a leaf or two from, add this to the pot along with the spices for a more intense orange flavour. In fact, keep an eye out for an orange tree in your hood and stockpile a few leaves as I have a stellar recipe coming up next month that uses such an ingredient (sorry Southlanders, I will include another option with the recipe). I'm sure your neighbour won't mind you thinning the branches a little to let the light onto the fruit! Throw a handful of leaves into the freezer as you would kaffir lime leaves and await instruction. *A note on tea, I like to buy loose leaf tea from a bulk food or organic store where there is a fast turnover for the freshest flavour. Chai tea is traditionally made with a strong black tea such as Assam tea.


  • 1 large cinnamon quill
  • 8-10 cardamom pods
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 cups/ 1 litre boiling water
  • a thumb of fresh ginger root, grated (the more the spicier)
  • peeled zest of 1 orange + an orange tree leaf or two (see recipe intro above)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 4 heaped teaspoons loose-leaf rooibos (red bush tea) or black tea


Place the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom into a mortar and pestle and crush the spices a little so to release the flavours. Tip the spices into a heavy-based saucepan and toast over a moderate heat until lovely and fragrant. Carefully add boiling water (it will spit and splutter) along with the ginger, orange zest and leaves (crushed in your hand first to release the oils), and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes to extract the flavours from the spices and orange zest/leaves. Remove from the heat and add the loose tea. Steep for 5-6 minutes then strain through a sieve into a jug. Cool and store in a bottle in the fridge, use within 2 weeks.

To serve: gently heat 1 part chai tea mix with 1 part water and 1 part milk of choice. If using cow or goat milk bring to a boil once or twice for a true chai flavour (see story above) - some plant-based milks can separate when boiled so be careful when heating these (don't boil). Pour into mugs and add a small pinch of cinnamon per cup to prevent a skin forming on the surface. Slurp and enjoy this belly-warming drink. 


Recipe and photo credit: The Homegrown Kitchen

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