Sunday, November 27, 2011

Robin's Caffeine Free Chai

I  love chai.   I once had a huge cup of really good chai from a Starbucks at a rest stop somewhere in Pennsylvania on the way back from Philly to Indiana.   It was delicious.   It also had so much caffeine that I could have run beside the car all the way across Ohio.  

Oh. My.   I had the shakes for days. 

I generally don't need artificial stimulants to keep me going.  Ever.   I tend to be a bit like the energizer bunny by nature.   Also, I'm hyper-thyroid.    Caffeine is something I avoid. 

Unfortunately, real chai is made with black tea.   Black tea is full of caffeine.  

A dilemma!  I love chai.  I hate caffeine.   So I made it my mission to brew a terrific chai without the tea.

And I did.  It's fabulous.  If I do say so myself. 

Here's the recipe.   You make it as mild or strong as you like and as sweet [or not] as you like.   I designed it so you can keep it for a while and make it a mug full at a time as you need to.  Brew some for yourself and sit back for the rest of the weekend and soak up some calm to get you through the next few weeks. 

This will make two quarts of chai.  
Robin's Caffeine Free Chai
  • 1 star anise
  • 20-24 whole cloves
  • 12-14 whole alspice
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of broken cinnamon bark [or thereabouts]
  • 12-14 whole white peppercorns
  • 6 green cardamom pods, opened so the seeds can come out
  • 2 inches ginger root, sliced
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/4 cup sugar [or more to taste]
Put all the spices in a pot with the water and simmer for 20 minutes or so.  

If you like it mild, then strain the spices out.   Add the sugar and add enough water to make a full quart.  To serve, add equal parts chai and milk to a mug. If you're not using it all right away, then keep the extras in the fridge in a jar.

If you like it stronger, then leave the spices in the brew.   Pour it into a jar and add the sugar.   Add enough water to fill up the quart.  Keep the jar in the fridge.  It'll get stronger as it sits.   When it's good and strong, I put 1/4 cup of the brew in a mug, add a 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of milk, then nuke it all until it's good and hot. 


  1. I'm definitely heading to Bloomingfoods today. I had my first taste of real chai this week. I need to avoid caffeine too because of my insomnia.

  2. Okay friend, I have all ingredients but they are ground my cardamom is ground as is the ginger. How about a hint on measurements for those two. As I write this I am sipping chai.

  3. Omiheart, this sounds wonderful. Now all I have to do is find some star anise and whole cardamom. Any hints as to where to find it? Maybe an Indian market?

    Also, I gather you like it stronger?

    Thank you! I am going to introduce this to my bro when I'm up in Seattle this week. :)

  4. Janiel - Yes I do like it strong! Play around with it. When it's fresh, I mix equal parts brew and milk. After it's been sitting for a while, then I add some extra water to the brew. You'll need to taste it to see.

    Nan - I'm sorry that I don't have dry conversions. I've never tried it that way.

  5. If you miss the tea taste in your chai, try making it with rooibos tea. It works really well in chai and is herbal and has no caffeine.

  6. Broken cinnamon bark. Can I use broken stick cinnamon?

    1. Yes. They're pretty much the same thing.


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