Cold Chai

You know we take our chai pretty seriously around here. Twice a day, at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM, our office cook serves up steaming cups of sweetly spiced chai. And I am here for it! It is THE BEST!  However, the 106 degree (and rising) temps have me in the mood for something cold. For most of my Indian friends, the notion of cold chai is something of an abomination. 

Like the shibori napkins? Check them out here.

But, sometimes my American roots get the best of me! After 10 years of living here, I’ve started drinking cold chai… of course, only in the secrecy of my own home. I’d never offend Pushpa, our office cook, with my incomprehensible ideas of drinking anything other than piping hot chai! And let me tell you friends, this secret habit is insanely delicious. You MUST try it!  I learned this recipe from another wayward American living in India who still likes ice and cold things, even after a decade of sweating it out in India’s sweltering heat. This recipe gives you all of the spicy, sweetness you love about regular chai AND keeps you cool at the same time! So what are you waiting for? Go make yourself a cup! You will absolutely not regret it. 

The Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 8 


  • 4.5 cups water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 piece fresh crushed ginger
  • 7 cardamom pods
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 10 tsps green or black tea, or 10 tea bags
  • 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Bring the water to a boil. Add the spices and tea to the water,  then remove from heat to steep for 10-20 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea. Around here, we go for about 15 minutes.  When time is up, strain the mixture and add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Give it a good stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. 

Ta-Dah! You’ve made the chai concentrate! Now, you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just pull it out and mix 1 part chai concentrate with 1 part milk, half and half, or dairy free milk of your choice. If you want, you can froth your milk to add some flair. If you like it extra cold, add some ice. And, viola! You’ve got a cup of cold deliciousness, ready to drink! 

This recipe is very customizable, so feel free to add some star anise or lemon zest, or kick up the spice level or sugar level to your liking when making the concentrate.

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