Photo Credit: Brian Samuels

Kripalu Chai


We suggest chai as an alternative to hot coffee. Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, and black peppercorns make it nourishing, flavorful, soothing, and stimulating all at once.

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Ayurvedic Insight: On cold, damp days, caffeine jump-­starts your system. However, it is a little too heating for summer weather. It is generally too heating for pitta and vata types as well, but they may enjoy this chai prepared without the tea and only the spices. If you use almond milk in place of dairy milk, this beverage can be balancing for kapha types as well.

Number of servings: 4
Recipe excerpted from

Excerpted from The Kripalu Kitchen, by Jeremy Rock Smith and David Joachim. 2018, Ballantine Books


  • 2 tablespoons whole cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 piece of star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups milk, any type
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons rapadura, packed dark brown sugar, or other sweetener of choice


  1. Cover the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and peppercorns with cheesecloth on a sturdy work surface. Use a rolling pin or a cast-­iron skillet to gently crush the spices and help release their aromas. Wrap the crushed spices and the fresh ginger in the cheesecloth or put them in a large tea ball.
  2. Combine the milk, 2 cups water, and spice bundle in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-­low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Return the mixture to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat and immediately add the tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain.
  4. Stir in your sweetener of choice, stirring to dissolve it. Serve warm.


  • For iced chai in warm weather, thoroughly chill the chai and serve it in tall glasses filled with ice.
  • For a paleo version, omit the milk and increase the water to 3 cups. Or for a vegan version, use almond milk.
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