Ayurvedic Recipe: Homemade Chai


Picture starting your chilly winter day off with a delicious, steaming hot cup of homemade chai….yum!


’Tis the season of chai! Chai is not only delicious, but because it is warming, it stokes your digestive fire! This makes it great for those of vata and kapha constitution or imbalance. Not as good for pitta, as it can be too heating. 


There are as many versions of chai as there are people who drink it, so below is just one variation. This recipe is my personal favorite, which I have made pretty much every morning for years. I modify it based on my mood, the season, what I have on hand, etc. I never actually measure, so below are just approximate amounts. This gives you a starting place from which to get creative and make your own personal masterpiece!


The recipe below is for making one tea mug full, so just double, triple, etc. if you wish to make more!



  • ½ tea mug Milk (cow’s milk or your favorite non-dairy milk alternative) 
  • ½ tea mug Water
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon chips (or approx. 1 cinnamon stick)
  • ½ tsp Cardamom seeds (also called decorticated cardamom)
  • Pinch Fennel seeds (optional; this keeps the chai from being overly heating)
  • 2-5 Black peppercorns (depending on the season and how spicy you want it)
  • 2-5 Cloves (same as black peppercorns)
  • 1 tsp Tea – black, green, white, oolong or rooibos tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
  • to taste Organic pure cane sugar or honey (unless you prefer unsweetened chai)

Begin with filling your tea mug about ½ full with whatever version of milk you plan to use, then fill it the rest of the way with water (so it’s about ½ milk, ½ water). Pour into a pan, add the remaining ingredients, stir. Bring to a simmer. The longer you simmer, the stronger the flavor, so adjust according to your preference. Turn off heat, strain, drink, and enjoy! Perfect for chilly autumn and winter days!


There are lots of variations, including:


Fresh or dried ginger

Vanilla beans

Nutmeg (at night you can skip the tea and use nutmeg to help you sleep. The effect kicks in about 4 hours after drinking. For medicinal effect, use about 1/8 – ¼ tsp. grated fresh nutmeg)

Mint (fresh or dried)


Fenugreek seeds




By Dr. Marisa Jackson-Kinman, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda