How to Make Yogi Tea Chai Recipe

How to Make Chai
Eriko Koga/Photodisc/Getty Images
Total Time 185 min
Prep 5 min, Cook 180 min
Servings 2 quarts

At Yoga Yoga in Austin, Texas, students are served a delicious yogi tea (also called chai) after each class. The recipe they use is adapted from Yogi Bhajan, who introduced Kundalini Yoga to western students in the late 1960s. Yogi Bhajan's recipe was also the inspiration behind the creation of the "Yogi Tea" company, a popular herbal tea brand that is easy to find in health food stores. It's very simple to make this tea at home and it fills your house with its wonderful aroma as it simmers for several hours. Unless you do a lot of Indian cooking, you'll probably have to pick up the whole spices that are brewed together to create that distinctive chai flavor. Once you have the ingredients, it's as simple as boiling water!

Chai in India

In India, masala chai is brewed at home where it is served to family and guests and is also sold on the street by vendors known as chai wallahs. Many Indians drink several cups a day. Tea culture in India is a combination of the remnants of British custom from the colonial period plus the addition of spices that are important in Ayurvedic medicine. The original chai was a purely herbal concoction. Black tea was added when the British pushed to popularize tea drinking by Indians in the early 20th century. This cultural amalgamation is mirrored in the evolution of yoga asana practice, which combined traditional Indian teachings with gymnastic exercises introduced by British military training during approximately the same period. 

Health Benefits of Chai

The spices that are used to infuse chai with flavor are also good for you. Ginger, in particular, settles the stomach and is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves are all also good for the digestion. Tea is a known antioxidant. Drinking chai when you're sick or have allergies just makes you feel better, which might be because ginger and black pepper can provide pain relief. There are lots of chai teas on the market, but many over them are over sweetened. By making your own you can control the amount of sugar for a healthier drink. 


  • 2 quarts water
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 20 whole cardamon pods (split the pods first by gently squashing them with the side of a knife)
  • 8 slices of fresh ginger (1/4" thick, no need to peel)
  • 1/2 teaspoon regular or decaf black tea leaves (approximately 2 tea bags)
  • Dairy or soy milk and honey or agave to taste


  1. Bring two quarts of water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Add the cloves and boil one minute.
  3. Add the cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and boil for 30 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for two to three hours.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat, add the black tea, and let it cool.
  6. Strain all the spices and tea leaves out and store in the refrigerator.
  7. Reheat when you want a cup and add the milk and sweetener of your choice to taste

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