Spiced Tea (Masala Chai) Recipe | Saveur

First a word about tea…

What is tea? Tea is simply leaves which have been dried (or maybe not dried), and then scalded with boiling water to infuse the leaves that gives you a liquid which is drinkable. You can drink tea hot or cold. You can make tea from any edible leaf or even fruit.

The tea which is used in masala tea is regular builders tea. The leaf has been fermented and then roasted to within an inch of its life which gives it that brown colour.

The word masala means mixed.

In this case it is the spices which are mixed to then give you this wonderful tea. Excellent for anytime for day.

Don’t forget you can talk about the history of tea, the health giving benefits of it, where it come from, etc if you are making it with a child. Children love masala tea, much more than coffee and it is very gentle on the stomach.


Tea – ‘builders’ tea is good. You want five or six bags – it has to be strong.

1.5 litres of water – you’ll want to make a whole load and then heat it up every time you want a top up. I can get the tea to last two days and it gets better each day as the spices infuse more.

Spices – here you can take your pick. But in general you have

  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Star Anise
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Black Pepper (yes!)

My own personal combination, if you have nothing else is cardamom, black pepper and ginger. But just figure it out for yourself. It does smell like mulled tea.

Sugar/Xylitol – to taste

Milk (whole milk is best). Cow milk is a huge part of Indian culture but if you want to substitute it with a vegan option, that’s cool too.

The secret to good masala teh is a strong tea and infusing the ingredients.


  1. Boil the water and the tea bags. Till they are quite infused.
  2. Throw in all your favourite spices.
  3. Simmer on low heat for about ten minutes. The kitchen should smell amazing now!
  4. Remove from the heat and serve with milk and sugar to taste.

Traditional masala teh is served with milk. You cna choose to not have any sugar and it will still taste amazing but it sill also taste great with sugar. If you put cinnamon in, it will have a natural sweetness.

Have it with an Indian dessert like gulabjam or rasmalai.

Enjoy while putting your wildlife garden together.