Chai is a favorite among yogis, and is so incredibly easy to make. The word chai simply means tea, and usually when we think of chai we think of masala chai, which is spiced tea. When Yogi Bhajan gave his recipe for it and spoke of its benefits, he called it yogi tea. Whenever we have group sadhana, I always make a giant batch of it and bring it to share. There is something about sitting around after our practice and sipping on yogi tea while chatting with old and new friends that is really special. After numerous requests for me to share my yogi tea recipe, I thought posting it here might be easiest!
Not only does it taste great, but yogi tea is also very good for you. The tea as a whole is very warming and grounding. The black pepper in the tea acts as a blood purifier, the cinnamon is for the bones, the cardamom is for the colon, and the cloves are for the nervous system. Ginger is a digestive stimulant, and the milk acts as an aid for assimilation and prevents the colon from being irritated by the spices.
I make chai several ways, but when I am making it for Kundalini Yoga events I always make it the way Yogi Bhajan taught. Here is the recipe I use:
- 1 heaping tablespoon cardamom
- 1 heaping teaspoon cloves
- 1 heaping teaspoon peppercorns
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 6″ finger of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 (32oz) carton unsweetened almond milk
- sweetener, to taste (I use jaggery)
Gently break open the cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle. Bring water to a boil, and then add all spices. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour. Then turn the heat off and allow tea to sit and further steep. If I have time, I will let it sit for several hours at this point. Then strain the tea by pouring it through a sieve into another pot. Bring this strained tea back to a boil, and then turn the heat off and add the tea bag. Let steep for a couple minutes, then remove the tea bag and add the milk. Personally, I much prefer whole cows milk, but when making it for a crowd I use almond milk because it always seems someone is intolerant of dairy. Bring back to a simmer, and then add sweetener. Enjoy!