Homemade Chai Rooibos Concentrate

I love chai. I love it’s soothing spicy sweetness, especially on a cold day. We have had a cold spell recently, including snow in all of it’s fluffy beauty. Chai tea seemed the drink for the moment. But the concentrates you buy at the store can be a bit spendy a well as plump with sugar. I decided to try my hand at making my own concentrate. I played around with a few recipes and came up with this version. I used one of my favorite teas, rooibos. I’ve made it both spicy and sweet, I will explain below how to accomplish both. I also found that I love it with a lot of vanilla. Yum!

This is cost effective if you are near a store where you can buy these spices in bulk. I get mine from a local store chain, New Seasons Market. Whole Foods may have all of these spices as well.

And if you want a less traditional chai, check out my recipe for Chai Hot Cocoa. Another scrumptious treat.

Homemade Chai Rooibos Concentrate

    6 cinnamon sticks
    15 cloves
    15 allspice berries
    5 cardamon pods
    15 black peppercorns
    1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger (more to make it spicy. You can also use fresh ginger. For a spicy version-my husband’s favorite-cut 1 inch of plump ginger into slices )
    6 tablespoons of rooibos
    1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

To serve: Sweetener of choice such as stevia, rapadura, honey and whole milk or nondairy milk of choice (such as coconut milk). To make it a sweet chai, sweeten more.

1) Crack the spices (excluding the cinnamon sticks and ginger). I used my mortar and pestle. Add to a medium pot with the cinnamon sticks and ginger and add 6 cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain. Add the vanilla extract. This concentrate will keep up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

2) To serve, combine and heat with milk of choice in a 1 to 1 ratio (per serving, I generally use 3/4 cup of concentrate to 3/4 cup of milk) and sweetener of choice.


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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    This sounds delicious – my sister-in-law just started cleaning up her diet with the Body Ecology Diet & I’ve been linking her your recipes like crazy! Thank you so much.

    Also, love New Seasons. I work right by one and wind up going to it on the way home from work 3-4 times a week.

  2. says

    Oh, Kimi, thanks for this! We make chai very similar to this, but without the rooibos (this is the first I’ve heard of it) and without the ginger or vanilla. I think I’ll add in some vanilla at the very least next time we make it! Yum!

    Also, I know this is off-topic, but if I remember correctly you’d asked about grain mill suggestions awhile back, in a previous post. I finally got around to sharing about mine, and thought I’d pass the link along to you,in case you are still looking: http://likeabubblingbrook.com/2011/02/komo-fidibus-classic-grain-mill-review/

    Warm smiles ~

    Jaime @ Like a Bubbling Brook

  3. Sarah says

    Traditional Chai recipe:
    Pakistani Chai

    Fill a medium size pot with half milk and half water;
    1 to 2 tablespoons of whole green cardomon pods (lightly crushed)
    3 to 8 cloves (can overpower the cardomon)
    1 half cinnamon stick
    1 to 2 inches fresh ginger root (thinly sliced)
    10 whole black pepper corns
    Adjust to taste seasoning to
    Bring to a boil turn to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Watch carefully.
    This improves after sitting over night. Keeps well without refrigeration (except in very hot weather) if you reheat it every morning.
    I have a dedicated kettle for chai.
    A good way to quit drinking coffee as it is warming and stimulating.


  4. Sara says

    How funny you would post this today – I just discovered Rooibos Chai at the store & got a little, & yes, it was spendy. I’m excited to try this on my own.

  5. Trudy says

    I want to comment that you can more than likely use the spices for a second or third batch. Love chai! Bookmarking this for future reference.

      • KimiHarris says

        What? You haven’t heard of pepper berries? Just kidding, that was a typo. 🙂 It’s changed now to “peppercorns”. 🙂

  6. LGoin says

    Frontier has a lot of those spices in bulk as well if you can get in on a local coop it’s super cheap with free shipping! And they have the loose tea in bulk also.

  7. Angela says


    Thanks for this great recipe…I have been enjoying chai organic tea by Tazo teas but am somewhat sensitive to the caffeine in the black tea that theirs contains. Do you know if your rooibos tea recipe has caffeine in it? I am still nursing a toddler so I am trying hard to limit or cut out caffeine but I still would love to enjoy a cup of chai every now & then. Thank you!!

    • KimiHarris says

      It doesn’t! That’s one reason I love it so much. The second reason is because it’s very high in antioxidants. 🙂

  8. says

    We tried Chai Rooibos but it is no longer distributed here. However, Waitrose has its own brand with vanilla and that suits very well. In India, of course, there are an infinite range of spice mixes you can use. Like Garam Masala, it depends on individual taste.

  9. says

    We tried Chai Rooibos but it is no longer distributed here in London. However, Waitrose has its own brand with vanilla and that suits very well. In India, of course, there are an infinite range of spice mixes you can use. Like Garam Masala, it depends on individual taste.

  10. Meagan says

    This is wonderful! I love chai and have been missing it since being pregnant because of the black tea. I didn’t have any Rooibos so I used Honeybush tea, which is very similar and found it also has pregnancy and lactation benefits! Who knew?! Delicious recipe, thank you!

    • KimiHarris says

      I didn’t know that either! I will have to read up about it. Thanks for the tip. Was it good with the honeybush?

      • Meagan says

        Very good. Honey bush tea has a slight sweet taste to it naturally and I bet you might be able to do without a sweetener. Of course I still add honey, but it’s definitely worth a try.

  11. says

    This is quite coincidental as I made homemade chai tea this morning, lightened with almond milk. No sweetener necessary for this amazing, anti-oxidant rich drink! 🙂

  12. Sharon Foutch says

    It all sounds so good! I’m going to try making my own as well. Thank you all for the recipes and tips.

  13. says

    My partner is from East Africa where chai is quite common. We make chai most days, but simply stew the herbs in a pot with tea, etc. We change the spices daily according to our mood or what we have, so having a ready mix does not appeal to us. The herbs and spices can also be used medicinally as they all have particular affects on the body.

  14. Kristina says

    I was so excited when I came across the recipe–loved your chocolate chai one too. I worried if I would be able to find all the whole spices at a good price. In the ethnic food aisle at the grocery store I was able to find all spice and cloves and peppercorns very reasonably priced, in small packets, but I couldn’t find cardamom pods anywhere around town. I splurged on a bottle of ground (quite pricey!) and made it with tea bags and it was delicious. Then yesterday I stumbled across cardamom pods at half price at a store I hadn’t been to. Anyway, I think the pods have a milder flavor than the pinch of ground. This is a go to recipe for me now. Thanks!I love that it’s full of antioxidants and beneficial spices, and it tastes great. Plus I can control the sugar content.(btw, you never stated when to add the tea, so I added it at the end and brewed for 5 min.)

  15. RH says

    I let the tea steep with the spices for the full 15 minutes since the recipe doesn’t specify when to add it. I haven’t tasted it yet, but hope that doesn’t make it bitter. Was also wondering if you ever reuse the spices/tea to make a second batch?

  16. Peggy says

    I just made this chair and it’s really yummy! I just happened to have all the ingredients at my kitchen cupboards, previously purchased in bulk at New Season Market. I really like the it has Rooibos in it, so I can drink even in the evening. Thanks!!


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