The perfect Masala Chai




When we were in Chile last December, our surf instructor, Ismael Herreros, got us all hooked on chai tea. He prepared a thermos of chai each morning and brought it along for our afternoon surf classes. When we would emerge from the frigid cold waters after our surf lesson, Ismael would unscrew the lid of his thermos and treat us all to a warming cup of chai.

We asked Ismael to share his recipe with us as we drove home from the beach one day, and he very casually listed off the ingredients he puts into his thermos each morning. We experimented with the ingredients and it took us several attempts to find the right balance of spices, but Michael soon mastered the art of chai tea and it’s become an afternoon ritual in our family over the past year.

We drink our chai with just the spices, no actual tea, but you can also add a tea bag or loose black tea to your concoction for a caffeinated version. And of course you can also add milk for a chai latte if you prefer it that way too. Another thing to note is that the tea turns out differently depending on the strength of your ingredients, so it’s good to experiment with the doses if it doesn’t taste just right. Here’s how we make ours:


-3 cinnamon sticks
-5 slices of fresh ginger
-6 to 8 whole cloves
-2 star anise
-roughly 30 black peppercorns
-8 to 10 cardomon pods (slightly crushed)
-a pinch of fennel seeds (slightly crushed)
-an OPTIONAL sprinkle of cayenne pepper if you want to add a bit of zip to your tea
-1 litre of water

Put everything into a pot, bring it to a boil and then simmer on low for 10 minutes. Using a strainer, pour into mugs. Add a bit of honey if desired (I prefer it this way) and enjoy!


Comments (12)

November 8, 2016

I want to try it out immediately! Thanks Courtney

Lara in Paris
November 8, 2016

Thanks for the recipe Courtney! Will try it out asap as Chai tea happens to be my very favorite and with Holiday season approaching it’s even more tempting to prepare liters and liters of it! xx

November 8, 2016

Oh, I can’t wait to try this! I’m expecting too, and missing my coffee. I love tea, but I’ve been looking for safe ways to mix it up a little! Thank you for sharing.

Vanessa in Scotland
November 8, 2016

I love your version of the recipe Courtney. The spices sound a perfect combination. We make ours with almond milk which makes it so comforting in what’s now turning into winter rather rapidly.

November 9, 2016

Thank you for sharing! May I ask where your grey slippers are from? xx

November 10, 2016

what are papercorns? cannot find it in the dictionary… 🙁

November 10, 2016

I call them peppercorns. You can grind them up for fresh ground pepper.

Courtney in London
November 12, 2016

Hi Sarah,

Sorry it was a typo! It is now corrected to be ‘peppercorns’. Sorry for the confusion. x

Nicole George
November 15, 2016

This sounds delicious and so fresh. Ah perfect for the holidays coming!

Nicole |

November 25, 2016

Yum! I’m definitely trying this one! Miss you! xx

Camino (Madrid)
December 10, 2016

Since I read this recipe I was interested and now here I am facing a Saturday working evening with a cup of this Masala chai, I added a bit of milk because it was too spicy for me, next time less black pepper. Anyway, Thanks for inspiring me o try this! Guess is good to replace coffee for other hot drinks. I would like also to sent you my best wishes for your current “limbo situation” in Australia and the last part of your pregnancy.

December 12, 2016

[…] from our garden for our tea. I’m also going to try Courtney’s (well, Michael’s) Masala Chai — it sounds perfectly […]

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