July 3rd, 2013


Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

I am sure I am not alone here when I say one of my all time favourite pastimes is to curl up on a couch in the sun and read a good book or magazine (or knit/ crochet) and sip on a hot drink. I make this chai tea mix all through winter in a large batch to last the week. This recipe is a combination of several chai tea recipes I have used over the years. However, I found if the recipe called for more than a handful of spices I rarely made it. The base recipe contains only 4 whole spices, palm sugar, and black tea or red bush (rooibos). It would also make a lovely Iced Chai with a scoop of vanilla ice cream added for those reading this from warmer climes.


  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 - 4 tablespoon grated ginger root - depends how spicy you like it, 2 tbsp for mild, 4 tbsp for spicy chai
  • 4 cups/ 1 litre hot water
  • 1/4 cup / 50g palm sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons loose fair-trade black tea or red bush (rooibos) for non-caffeinated
  • OR 4 tea bags

Optional flavour additions:

  • 1 vanilla pod - I save scraped vanilla pods for adding to chai (there is still plenty of flavour)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise


  • Combine the whole spices in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to extract the flavours from the spices. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then simmer for a further two minutes to slightly caramelise the sugar. Turn off the heat and add the loose tea. Steep for 5 minutes then strain through a sieve into a 1 litre bottle. Cool and store in the fridge, it will keep for several weeks.
  • TO SERVE: gently heat 1 part chai tea mix with 1 part water and 1 part milk* of choice. Pour into small mugs and add a small pinch of cinnamon per cup to prevent a skin forming on the surface.


IMPORTANT: If you are making this with *cow or goat milk bring it to a boil first, the flavour of milk changes when it boils which adds to the complete chai experience. *If using other milk - oat, almond, rice, coconut - DO NOT BOIL or it will curdle.

After making several wintry items for my children including a knitted vest and sheepskin sole slippers, I decided it was time to make something just for me. I do have several unfinished items for myself in the knitting bag, but they weren’t tempting me to return. Mostly because I have spent the past two winters attempting to the finish them and feel like I am getting nowhere as they are fine yarn knits. I wanted an easy project that I could finish in time for wearing this winter.

I know anything crochet is faster than knitting, and a chunky homespun takes less time than say 2 ply baby yarn. But first I had to find a pattern. I searched online free pattern sites including raverly with its thousands of shared patterns, but nothing really grabbed me. Until I was browsing the yarn section at Spotlight trying to unsuccessfully match wool to finish Mika’s slippers, and found a series of free patterns. This simple Cardellino Shrug pattern I found at Spotlight caught my attention (here is another similar shrug on my ‘craft’ pinterest board). Using a chunky 8ply yarn this was exactly what I was looking for. Something that I can easily put on over my winter merinos to add extra warmth and also looks good.

This is a really simple pattern, just one long piece, that is then folded then sewn to make arm holes. No shaping and one easy crochet stitch. If you are looking for something simple to make for yourself, that also looks and feels nice to wear, this is it. I have already had several compliments. And instead of taking all winter to make, it took about 3 weeks with on average 30 minutes a day.


Chai Tea Mix




Join the Conversation

  1. hi nicola- what a beautiful crochet shrug you’ve made! i love it. and the look of that chai, too. i’m looking forward to our evening : )

    1. thanks Melissa, it is lovely and warm. I have hardly taken it off since I finished it 🙂

  2. Hi Julie, thanks for your questions. I just checked with Hayley but at this time she is just supplying Nelson cafes. She would like to offer it further afield in the future.

  3. The tea sounds tasty. Can I make it without milk or is that a major part of it?

    1. Hi there, the milk really makes chai, you can use rice, oat, almond or soy milk if you don’t drink dairy milk. You could try it with extra water rather than the milk but it won’t really be chai then more a spicy herbal drink.

  4. I’m shocked by how few women drink tea here in Canada! It’s filter coffee with creamer everywhere I go – even local knitting groups! I actually can’t wait to return to NZ where ALL ladies (ok, exaggeration) drink tea and would appreciate homemade chai and an evening of knitting during the cold (but not quite as wicked as here!) nights.

  5. Hello Nicola, I have made a batch of chai but the cows milk keeps curdling, I’ve made three cups following the instructions but it keeps happening. I googled it and I think it’s the ginger, is there a way I can stop it curdling? Thanks.

    1. Hi Sarah, oh dear that is not good. I find the tea curdles when I use rice or oat milk but never had it happen with cow milk. I use whole milk and always bring it to a boil before serving. Maybe try not bringing it to a boil and see what happens. Sorry about that.

  6. Hi Chelsea, I am not sure if Hayley is still making the chai syrup but they used to sell it at Kush & Red gallery. I will check with her when I see her next and let you know if anywhere else. Thanks your comment 😉

  7. nzecochick says:

    I love a good chai tea and often buy this when out. I am so going to make a batch of this to have at home. Thanks for the great recipe Mx

  8. I love the look of your shrug! I tried to find the pattern, but when I clicked on the link it took me to a Spotlight page and I couldn’t find the pattern there. Maybe I’m doing something wrong …

    1. Hi Anna, maybe they have taken the pattern off their site. If you check out my pinterest craft page there are some similar style shrugs and links to patterns:
      Happy crocheting!

  9. I first saw this post years ago but it has taken me until the Covid-19 lockdown to actually make it – luckily I had all the spices in my house already. I normally buy Trade Aid Chai Masala tea and have cup every morning but as I have run out and can’t get more, I made this. It is delicious thank you!

    1. Hi Naomi. That is great to hear. I am loving seeing all the Covid cooking going on and trying of new recipes 😉
      Happy sipping. Nicola

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