This chai, made with healthy herbs and spices, is so full of incredible flavor. It’s also caffeine-free, so it can be enjoyed any time of the day.
If you know me in the slightest, you know I love my coffee. It’s serious business.
I enjoy a good herbal tea, too, but if I have the choice between the two, I’ll usually go for coffee.
Unless that tea is a really good up of chai, lightly sweetened with a touch of raw milk or cream. Then it could be a tough call.
Chai has an incredibly strong, spicy, warm flavor that I just adore. My children love it, too, and we often make it in a soup pot so that there’s enough for everyone.
Though chai is traditionally made with black tea and spices, my favorite way to make it is with herbs and spices so that I can enjoy it at night and not worry about extra caffeine. (I may love my coffee, but I do keep my caffeinated limits in mind.) Roasted dandelion root and rooibos give the chai such a full flavor that I don’t miss the black tea one bit!
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Rooibos, sometimes called red tea, is a South African botanical powerhouse full of antioxidants and minerals. It’s naturally caffeine-free with a sweet flavor reminiscent of vanilla.
Roasted dandelion root has a deep flavor similar to coffee or cocoa. It’s a liver tonic that’s also full of beneficial minerals, notably potassium, and gently detoxifies the body. Be sure to read more about dandelion in this previous Herb of the Month post!
The herbs and spices used are all full of heathful phytochemicals and are anti-inflammatory as well, making this tea not only very flavorful, but health-promoting, too.
Herbal Chai Tea Blend with Dandelion and Rooibos
To make brewing simpler, whole root and spice pieces are coarsely ground in a spice or coffee grinder, but not to the point of powdering. I try to leave nothing larger than 1/2 an inch long.
- 1 cup Rooibos
- 1 cup roasted dandelion root, coarsely ground
- 10 bay leaves, coarsely crumbled
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 10 3″ cinnamon sticks
- 5 star anise pods
- 1/4 cup dried ginger pieces
- 2 dried vanilla beans (you can quickly dry them in a toaster oven set on warm or no higher than 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, checking regularly)
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom, or 3 tablespoons cardamom pods
- Place whole spices in a coffee or spice grinder and pulse until the pieces are coarsely ground, similar to the coarse grind of the dandelion root. Depending on the size of your grinder, this may need to be done in a few steps. Cinnamon sticks will probably need broken into smaller pieces by hand before placing in the grinder.
- Combine the herbs and spices with the rooibos and coarsely ground roasted dandelion root and mix well. Store in a glass jar away from heat and light.
To brew a large batch of tea, boil 8 cups of water in a soup pot. Place 1 tablespoon of chai blend in a medium tea ball or muslin tea bag. Once the water is at a full boil, add the chai blend and cover to steep for about 30 minutes.
For less chai, you can use 1/2 tablespoons mix in 4 cups of boiled water or about 1 teaspoon in 2 cups of water.
Add honey and milk, as preferred, to individual cups at serving time.
Depending on your tastes, you can increase or decrease the amount of tea blend used or increase or decrease brew time. I leave the chai mix in the water the entire time we’re drinking it, so it tends to get stronger as time goes on.
You can also play with the individual spice content to suit your tastes. I’m not a big fan of star anise, so I don’t use much, but I do use a generous portion of ginger, which I really like.
You can find all of these herbs, spices, and supplies at Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store. And if you love the idea of a caffeine-free chai, but not so much the idea of putting it all together, no worries. Both online suppliers sell their own delicious rooibos-based chai blend all ready to go.