Homemade Masala Chai Tea

Simple, easy recipe.

Recipie: 6 cups


  • 2 Tbsp of black tea, traditionally Assam, heaping
  • 6-9 Cardamom pods, green, whole
  • 1 Tbsp of Ginger, dried
  • 2 tsp peppercorns, freshly cracked for maximum flavor
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1-2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cups of water
  • Milk- amounts vary depending on brew method.

English brew method:

  1. Mix the ingredients together.
  2. Add the contents to a large teabag and tie up with string.  Also, this is one of the few teas, a tea ball is not the best option as the small pieces of cracked pepper, and other bits will seep out of the ball making a grit in the bottom of the teacup.
  3. Make a pot of tea however you normally do with a teabag.
  4. Serve with milk.

Traditional method:

Milk and water should add up to 6 cups, after being reduced. Traditionally, one part water to 1/4 – 1/2 parts milk.

  1. Simmer the spices in water until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the loose leaf tea. Simmer for about 5 minutes until a dark rich color.
  3. Add the milk and remaining water to have a total of 6 cups of liquid.
  4. Heat until steaming, strain and serve.

Traditional Variations:

Kashmiri Chai: Green tea (instead of black tea), traditionally Gunpowder green, mixed with almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and occasionally saffron.

Noon Chai: Brewed with salt, pistachios, almonds, cardamom, and cinnamon and a pinch of baking soda to enhance the pink color, served in a samavar, a sort of copper tea pot, and eaten with with nuts, dried fruit and Kashmiri breads if you happen to have any on hand.  Traditional served in Pakistan on special occasions.

Other spices:

  • Star Anise
  • Fennel
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Saffron
  • Almonds (traditional cooking method only)
  • Pistacios (traditional cooking method only)
  • Mace
  • Black Cardamom
  • Rose petals, (add with looseleaf tea, in the traditional cooking method)
  • Chili
  • Coriander
  • Cumin

Spices can be added in various forms: fresh or dried, whole or powdered.  Different quantities are needed with different forms, and some spices taste very different fresh vs dried. One thing to take note of is that fresh ginger has a very different flavor than dried ginger.  One thing to not is that powdered spices are hard to strain out of the tea using the traditional method of cooking and oftentimes the spices accumulate as sediment at the bottom of your tea cup.  If you are using powdered, a tea bag should be able to hold them in.

Experiment with the spices as much as you want. I like to experiment here and there for something new but often times stick to the basics.  I generally add more cardamom, ginger and black pepper and leave out the cloves as my mother cannot have them.




Mixing Your Own Tea

I was asked the other day if I make my own tea.  My answer was, “Yes and no.” Obviously I do not grow my own tea, but I do scent my tea.  I have various herbs, as well as different types of tea which I mix. So tonight I mixed a decaf black tea (P&G Tips) with some edible lavender buds.  And suddenly I have lavender black tea.

You can blend your own teas and keep the mixed combinations on hand. This makes sense with complicated blends like chai where it is not as simple as some mixes. I personally like to keep the various parts on hand and mix them when I make the cup of tea. That way I have the most flexibility.  No directions are really needed but here they are nonetheless.


  1. Boil water.
  2. Add a “base” tea. This can be loose leaf tea or in tea bags. No matter.
  3. Choose any favor or scents to it. Anything edible and plant-based can be added. Get creative.  Add the amount you think will work. You can always tweak later.
  4. Brew until the strength is to your liking.
  5. Strain tea.
  6. Enjoy from a teapot or pour it directly into the teacups


  • black tea (decaf & regular)
  • green tea (decaf & regular)
  • white tea  (decaf & regular)
  • chamomile
  • Darjeeling  (decaf & regular)
  • Earl Grey  (decaf & regular)

“scents” to mix in:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Mint (spearmint & peppermint)
  • Lemon peel, lemon verbena or lemon balm
  • Chai spices (ginger, white pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon) and any comb
  • Rose hips
  • Jasmine

Some combinations I particularly like:

  • Jasmine Green Tea
  • Lavender Earl Grey
  • Earl Grey with Lavender, Rose and Rosemary
  • London Fog (Earl Grey with Lavender and Vanilla)
  • Chamomile, rose & rosemary
  • Chamomile Lemon (verbena, blam or peel)
  • Ginger Black tea
  • Lemon rosemary chamomile
  • Cinnamon cardamom black tea
  • Chamomile mint
  • Chai black tea
  • so many more options… get creative



York: Traditional Afternoon High Tea at Betty’s

York is apparently home to the High Tea.  It is not that High Tea was invented here, but rather that this is the place to get High Tea in England.  After doing a bit of research, I found that the most famous place to get High Tea in York is at Betty’s.  Since I am Betty, that decided it!!

My friend had to put up with a lot from me.  You see, I was so excited about this.  This is what I had been looking forward to for at least a month.  So of course, she had to deal with me taking photos, and I made her take photos of me.  She was a really good sport.

A photo taken by yours truly.

We both already knew what we were going to order.  We were getting their Betty’s Traditional Afternoon Tea.  All we needed to decided what what type or flavor tea we should have with it.  Actually, we were informed that we could have the Afternoon tea with a choice of Tea, Coffee or Hot Chocolate, even though it only said tea on the menu.  But I am a purist, and I LOVE tea.  Plus, I feel like coffee and hot chocolate would be too much for the delicate flavors of everything else.

Me reading the menu!!

The tea came in a lovely silver plated (I am assuming it is plated) tea set.

Me after our tea had arrived.

Once our food came, served in a trio of plates on a stand.  As tradition dictates, you work from the bottom up.  We started with the sandwiches.  There were four types:

Scottish Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese

Roast Yorkshire Ham

Roast Free-Range Chicken Breast

Egg, Mayonnaise and Cress

The scone was a sultana scone.  Sultanas are a really good type of golden raisin.  The scone was served with Yorkshire clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Look at the scrumptious food!!

We were so full and warm by the end of it.  It really was lovely.  After that, it was time to head back into York, and explore.  But, before we did that, we had to pick something else up for the friend who dropped us off at the wall on her way to the train station.  She was planning on joining us that evening.  We ended up getting a marzipan pig from their little shop on the first story.

She ended up being silly, and we took a photo of it.

I wanted to get something special for my grandmother.  She would have loved it.  I was named Betty after her.  My grandmother and I would cook together and drink lots of tea together.  I thought about her a lot that day and how she would love it there.  I wanted to give her something special from the place.  I figured the tea would get old in that time.  There was a cookbook, but it was fairly expensive, and I had already purchased a book that day.  I did not have room for anything else.  I ended up purchasing a post card and I mailed it to her.

We had an absolutely fabulous time.


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York: The Afternoon: Exploring the Shops

York is fabulous.  There were so many unique and creative shops.  A lot of these shops were located in “The Shambles,” an area that looked like something out of a Harry Potter movie.  The houses looked like they were going to spill into the streets!


Entering The Shambles


Actually in the Shambles



There were so many little tea shops, craft shops, just see for yourself!


This store was styled in the way that my friend envision her house would be styled in.  It was a beautiful hodgepodge of precious and colorful items.


See, she is in heaven!

This store even had the table made up for a mix-n-match china tea party!





Everything was rustic chic.  It looked like a really cute cottage.



In the front of the store, there was an arts and crafts section that sold ribbons, buttons, fabric, wrapping paper and more!



My friend again in heaven again!  In this photo she is completely amazed at how awesome the place was!!



This one below is a part of the store where my friend bought her Rose Black Tea.  All of the little jars are samples of some of the flavors of tea they had.  This was where you could open any of the jars and smell the tea.



We walked around the town and took in the sights.  There was an outdoor flower market, a square that had musicians performing, and several churches.  There were also lots of very cute clothing shops as well and many other tea shops.  It was absolutely lovely.

London: High Tea

So, I could not go to London and not have tea.  For some reason, the place we were planning to have tea was closed.  We ended up running into another Colgate student who said that he had high tea with his mother at a nearby hotel.  We decided to check it out.  It looked good, so we sat down and ordered.  We split two high teas between the five of us.  But believe me, it was enough food.  We each had several sandwiches, a scone, as much tea as we could want, and little desserts.

Some of us even decided to make it a celebratory High tea and get a glass of prosecco with it.  Cheers to a fabulous trip to London!

After a lovely start to the day, we were ready to sightsee in London!

London: Cafes, tea shops and pubs

Hanging out around town and catching up with friends is one of my favorite things things to do.  It is so nice to invite someone over to your house for tea or coffee and catch up over it.  In cities, however, one does not often invite someone to their house, but meet them at a coffee shop, tea shop, cafe or, because we are in England, a pub.


We first decided to take a break from our sightseeing and walking and stopped in at a bookstore-cafe.  This place sold books and tea, coffee, cakes, etc.  We stopped in, and enjoyed some japanese style tea while we rested our feet.



I was very happy to see a “Quote of the Moment” written on a chalkboard.  I thought the quote was fitting.  London was buzzing about and doing what it wanted to do while I was taking my tea.



All good things must come to an end, and so did our time at the bookstore-cafe.  Just just because good things must come to an end does not mean that there are not just as good things to take their place.  Out we went to explore London once more.


Our hostess, tour guide and wonderful friend wanted to take us to a historic and traditional pub.  Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a pub in london.  The building it is was rebuilt shortly after the Great fire of 1666. This building is a century older than The United States of America.  But wait! The pub is older than that.  There had been a pub here since 1538!


We enter a small door and soon find some really old signs that say that only gentlemen are allowed.  Well, I look around and see plenty of women about, so we continue on our merry way.  The pub is full.  There is a narrow staircase leading upstairs, rooms on either side, and a staircase leading down to the cellars.  After quick examination, we discover that the upstairs and the ground floor is completely full.  We head down into the cellar.  The cellars are packed too, but we see that there is a table that people are getting ready to vacate.  We wait for a little bit and are rewarded!


The cellar has vaulted ceilings, stone and plaster walls and wooden supports.   The lights cast a yellow glow about the walls and ceilings making it feel very old.  It is believed that these vaulted ceilings belonged to the 13th century Carmelite Monastery that was on this sight.


I head over to the bar in the other room and wait patiently to order.  I wait for about 15 minutes and see that all five of the bartenders at this bar (there were 1 to 2 bars on every level) were constantly busy filling orders.  I was instructed to get the darkest beer they had on tap, and so I did.  I eventually returned to the table with two pints of a very dark and impressive looking beer. It may look like a bad photo, but I can guarantee you that that is how it looked.   Just look at the head on that beer!



(please note:  this is a photo after some sips were taken.  The bartenders in this pub know how to pour a pint.  In fact, they would fill it up, let the foam subside and fill it up some more.  Once the level of the beer was at or above the pint mark,  the bartenders took a flat knife looking thing and scraped off the foam that was above the lip of the glass.)


Well, my friends were pleased with it!  Apparently, it was the type of beer that is like a meal!



After enjoying the ambiance, each others company and the beer, we prepared to leave.  Before we had even gotten out of our seats, there were people anxiously waiting to take our seats.  My first trip to a pub in England was over.


On our last morning in London, we went to a cafe to have our last meal in London.  This cafe was near where we were staying with our friends.  We were all together for one last meal in London.  In addition to our tea, coffee and hot chocolate, we had croissants, alsatians, pain au chocolat, quiches and tortes!




Clearly we have not mastered the art of group selfies!  If you combine the two pictures, however, you can see everyone!  After that, we headed to St. Pancras to take the train to Brighton!


London: Twinings Tea

So, I do not know if you know this about me, but I love tea.  I absolutely love it.   Because of this, I wanted to see the Twinings tea store in London.  Now, in order to understand why I wanted to do this, let me give you a little history about the introduction of tea to England.

As you may know, many years ago, England ruled the world.  Coffee was very popular, and Twinings was a coffee shop in London.  In order for Thomas Twinings to be competitive with other coffee shops, Twinings started to sell tea to Londoners.  This made Twinings the first tea shop to open in London.  It opened in 1706.   It was only later that the East Indian Trading company joined the tea trade.  So, of course I had to see this very important and historical store.

The store is very narrow.  It is only about 10 feet wide, maybe not even that, but it is long.  Outside, you see the logo and are invited to enter and have a free cup of tea!


Upon entry, one stairs down the length of the shop and is in heaven!  There are shelves on either side filled with tea, tea cups, tea pots, books about tea and even more tea.  The upper part of the walles are filled with portraits of members of the Twinings family.




I think I have died and gone to tea heaven.  Or at least tea-vana.



And look!  There are still remnants of the fact that Twinings started out as a coffee shop!  They sell different types of coffee beans.



I do not have a photo of it, but if you continue into the store, this is where they sell their specialty bulk tea.  They had many different types of exotic teas (orchid) as well as some herbal ones (rose and chamomile).  These are located on one wall while on the other side is where one can do tastings.  Unfortunately we were in a rush, otherwise I would have tasted one of the specialty teas.