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June 2008

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Masala Chai Recipe

Part III: Chai Flavors & Serving Suggestions


This is Part III of a three-part article. To read Part I and Part II, click on the black links below.

Chai Recipe: Making Masala Chai From Scratch

It’s not difficult to make chai from scratch, but you might as well make up a good-sized batch rather than do all of the measuring and boiling for just one or two cups. Cardamom is essential, but if you don’t have one of the other spices below, you can pick something from the substitute list.* The ginger and peppercorns add heat and spice to the blend. If you don’t like a lot of spiciness, you can substitute a spice or simply leave them out.


  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1/4" ginger root, sliced thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of tea leaves: Assam, Darjeeling or other non-perfumed tea
    (e.g., no jasmine or Earl Grey); substitute rooibos or green if you prefer
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup milk (whole, nonfat, soymilk, ricemilk)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar (white or brown—brown adds more dimension of
    flavor; substitute honey if you prefer)

*Substitute spice list: anise or star anise (both for the fennel), nutmeg.


  1. Combine spices and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the tea leaves, cover, and turn off the heat. Steep for 2 minutes and strain the tea into a pot.
  3. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed iced, or heated in the microwave.

Makes 8 cups.

Go to Part I: Chai Overview

Go To Article Index Above