Darjeeling Limited: It’s Chai Time

Recently a dear friend of mine traveled to India in a mission to help others and enlighten the world with her rockin’ glitter powers. While over there, she informed me that she consumed more chai than a Hummer consumes gas on a cross-country trip. This got me thinking…how did we get to such a delightful beverage?

How beautiful is this picture from Absola?!

In many places, there is a misconception that “chai” in itself is made with cardamom, ginger, and the other common spices. However, chai is simply the Hindi word for “tea” and can be prepared black, with milk, without sugar, etc.

Now for me, I am a big enthusiast of soy milk in chai, yet traditionally in India, buffalo milk is used to make chai. Yummy! For us good ol’ Americans, whole milk is usually used for its richness. You can use tea bags or do like Starbucks and use the heavily concentrated sugar-pepper mix with half water and half milk.

So in celebration of Absola’s return and in the return of fall, I thought it was only appropriate to post a flavorful recipe for a luscious chai tea latte.

Servings: 4


  • 3 cups water
  • 10 whole green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 black tea bags, such as English Breakfast
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk


  • Place the water in a small saucepan, and add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla bean and scrapings.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until mixture is aromatic, about 15 minutes.
  • Whisk in honey, and drop tea bags in pan; turn off heat, and let steep 3 minutes.
  • Strain tea through a fine strainer or a coffee filter into a warmed serving pot.
  • Heat soy milk in same saucepan over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes; do not let it come to a boil or it will separate.
  • Pour into serving pot with the tea, and stir well to combine. Serve immediately.

Recipe of course thanks to Martha!


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