Judge Chris Cason of Tavalon noted that caffeine-free rooibos is a natural fit for masala chai spices and said, "The spices were very clear, thanks to an overnight soaking, and the flavor of the tea to the spices was well balanced."
Side note -- Although the level of sweetness in the recipe is great for those who usually drink coffeehouse chai, Chris, guest judge Jesse Jacobs of Samovar Tea Lounge and I all preferred the recipe with less honey.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Steep time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours, 10 minutes
- 1.5 tsp (8 grams) whole cloves
- 2 tsp (8 grams) fresh cardamom pods (or 1 tsp ground cardamom)
- 9 heaping tbsp (18 grams) chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 1 tsp fennel
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (50 grms) Red Rooibos tea leaves
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp or 4 oz) honey (I recommend starting with 1 tbsp honey and adding more to taste if desired)
- 2 cups milk
- Steep spices in 8 oz boiling water. Marinate overnight in fridge. Strain out spices from marinade.
- Steep rooibos tea leaves in 2 cups boiling water for 6 minutes. Strain out leaves.
- Add honey and strained spice mix marinade to Rooibos tea.
- Heat milk to just below boil.
- Combine with tea and marinade.
- Serve immediately.