How to make your own blend of tea using caffeine-free rooibos and masala chai spices
Looking for a delicious and healthy way to warm up this winter? Try this rooibos chai blend recipe.
Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, so it’s perfect for enjoying at any time of day.
Plus, the spices in this recipe will help keep you cozy all season long.
How this recipe came about
One of my neighbor comes from India and she makes a DELICIOUS masala chai. I’ve been hooked ever since she taught me how to make it myself!
There’s something really comforting about the warm spices and rich flavor of this tea.
However, there are 2 reasons why I don’t drink it as often as I’d like:
First, the original masala chai has black tea, which has caffeine. I am quite sensitive to it, so I avoid it having it more than a couple of times a week and especially in the evening.
Second, making chai the right way needs some time.
So, while I know it can’t be compared to the real thing, I can understand why there are some brands selling chai tea bags like these.
I’ve purchased such tea bags with chai flavors myself and some brands have quite acceptable teas.
But here’s the thing: most of those tea bags contain black tea, which as I said, I limit in my day to day.
So what’s a girl to do when she wants her chai fix but also wants to stick to her no-caffeine diet?
Make her own tea blend, of course!
This rooibos chai blend is a caffeine-free tea made with rooibos, which is naturally sweet, and a mix of warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
This homemade tea blend is also great if you want an original and thoughtful gift for a tea lover in your life.
Just put all the ingredients in a pretty jar and you’re good to go: a mild chai with the best ingredients.
While this homemade rooibos chai taste less intense than authentic chai (specially if you prepare it like “normal” tea, that means, steeping it in hot water instead of brewing it in a stovetop), it’s still gives a lovely chai flavor without the caffeine or the time in the kitchen.
First of all, what is chai?
Chai is a type of spiced milk tea that originates from India. It’s made by brewing black tea with milk and a mixture of spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom.
While this drink is commonly known as “chai”, the word chai actually means “tea” in India, so the more accurate name for this spiced tea would be “masala chai”.
Ingredients to make rooibos chai blend
For this DIY tea blend, you’ll need spices and rooibos tea (loose leaves, which look like little red needles).
The most characteristic spices in chai are usually cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
Black pepper and star anise are also sometimes used.
These spices are quite easy to come by and you probably have already many of them in your pantry.
Probably the most difficult spice to come by for this recipe is dried ginger: I use store-bought dried ginger, but you may also use candied ginger or self- dried ginger.
Just be sure it’s completely dry, so it doesn’t mold.
Another thing that you might need consider is using whole spices: powdered spices will settle at the bottom of your blend.
Also, since they are difficult to strain, you might end up with a gritty cup of tea.
In top of that, they lose their flavor more quickly, so using whole spices is always the best way to go.
The base for this blend is rooibos, which isn’t real tea, but a type of bush that grows in South Africa.
The leaves of the plant are used to make an herbal tea that has a sweet and slightly nutty flavor.
This makes rooibos a great caffeine-alternative to black tea.
If you have trouble finding plain rooibos tea, you could also use vanilla rooibos blends.
Equipment to make this rooibos chai blend
While following utensils are the most helpful for me, feel free to use any alternative that serve similar purposes:
- A mortar and pestle: I find it easies to grind the spices with a mortar, but a knife and a cutting board will also work
- A funnel (optional):
This makes it easier to pour the tea into the container
- A tea can tin or another airtight container:
This is to store your tea blend. Ideally, tea should be stored in a dark recipient to avoid light, but if your tea is kept away from the light (for example, in a cabinet), a glass jar will be also fine.
- A teaspoon:
This may be useful to measure the spices or the tea
- Tea filters:
Since rooibos leaves are so narrow, most people find it much more convenient to use tea filters when steeping this tea. You may also use a tea ball or an infuser.
How to make a homemade rooibos chai tea blend
The steps to make this rooibos chai blend are quite simple:
How to make homemade rooibos chai blend
- Slightly roast the spices
Simply place all the whole spices in a pan over medium heat (without oil!) and roast them for a minute or two until they become fragrant. Stir frequently to avoid them burning.
You can skip this step altogether if you’re short on time.
- Grind the spices
Once the spices are roasted, transfer them to a mortar (or a bowl) and grind them in small pieces.
- Combine everything together
Once the spices are at room temperature, put them together with the rooibos tea in a airtight container.
Once the lid is closed, shake to mix everything together.
- Prepare a cup (or a teapot)
When you’re ready to enjoy a cup of tea, simply put around 2 teaspoons of the blend in a tea filter and steep it in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of freshly boiled hot water for about ten minutes (don’t be afraid: this tea doesn’t over-steep).
This herbal tea goes well with milk and a little amount of sweetener.
Tips to make the best caffeine-free chai blend
- You can play around with the spices and use more or less of each, according to your taste.
- Roasting the spices is optional, but it really brings out the flavors of the spices. I sometimes add the rooibos to the pan after the spices have been roasted. Even if the pan isn’t heated anymore, the rooibos leaves get crispier.
- Tea blends with big chunks look pretty but it can be difficult to get a balanced amount of the different ingredients, specially if you prepare a smaller amount (like a cup).
So, try to find a balance between grinding the spices too finely (which makes them harder to strain) and not grinding them enough (in which case you might get sometimes a cup of tea with too much or too little of a certain spice).
- I like using a mortar and a pestle, but if you don’t have one, you can use a knife to chop the spices in small pieces on a cutting board.
- Chai is usually sweetened, but since rooibos is already “sweet”, this blend already tastes deliciously mild without any additional sweetener.
Get the perfect amount of spices
The taste and intensity of the spices can vary a lot depending on the manufacturer, charge, how long they were stored, their size…
That’s why you may get different results every time.
But don’t worry: adapting the blend to your taste is quite easy.
Did your chai blend turn out too bland? Try to find out which taste profile you miss and add more of the spice that represents it best.
Too spicy? Add a little bit more rooibos.
However, keep in mind that the blend’s taste settles after a night (or a couple of days).
So, even if you didn’t completely like the blend, wait a day: it might surprise you positively the next day.
You can keep it for around six months in a cool and dry place, but the sooner you use it, the fresher it will taste.
When storing the tea, make sure to keep it in an airtight container to preserve its flavor and aroma for as long as possible.
This recipe makes enough for around 17 cups of tea: each cup need around 2 teaspoons tea blend (3 gr.).
Absolutely! You may switch the rooibos tea for black tea.
Rooibos Chai Tea Blend Recipe
- Optionally: put the spices (except from the dried ginger) in a pan and roast them lightly at medium heat.
- Grind the spices into small pieces.
- Put the tea and the spices together and store in an airtight container.
- When you are ready to drink some tea, use around 2 teaspoon per cup. Steep in ½ to ⅔ cup of freshly boiled hot water for at least 10 minutes.It goes well with milk (optionally also some sweetener).
I hope you enjoy this rooibos chai blend recipe!
This tea blend might seem like a lot of work at first, but once you make it, you’ll see it’s worth it. Also, you’ll have enough tea for several weeks (or even months!) and it’s a lovely gift idea.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!