This is a caffeine-free version of chai, a traditional Indian drink. It normally contains Darjeeling tea, but this recipe is so simple and just as flavorful. I have been in love with chai ever since I traveled in India where they have chai-wallas everywhere you look, selling their proprietary blend, served hot. One of the most memorable experiences I had in the three months I was there was getting a tiny, handmade ceramic cup of hot chai while on a train. It only contained a few tablespoons of liquid and we watched as customers finished their last drops and threw the cups out the window to shatter on the tracks below. But being the tourists we were, we kept ours (see the photo below).
You may have noticed that iced chai drinks are very popular right now, especially with almond milk. They can be very pricy in the grocery store or at specialty markets, not to mention the glass and plastic waste that goes along with it. I also find them to be overly sweet at times, so with this recipe not only will you save lots of money but you can also control the sweetness.
This is the same method as the almond milk post. Your leftover almond meal with be nicely spiced so make some chai energy balls!
If you want to take it a step further, add some cold brewed coffee to your morning cup of chai. Hot or cold, it’s the perfect flavor combination. Cold-brewing your coffee is so much better than brewing a cup and pouring it over ice (which is what most coffee shops do). It’s smoother, less bitter, and sweeter so you will never go back once you’ve tried it. Cold brew does have more caffeine than your typical coffee or latte so if you are sensitive, use less than the amount called for.
makes about 3 cups
3 cups water
1 cup almonds, soaked about 4 hours or overnight
1/4 cup raw agave (or sweetener or your choice)
1 tablespoon (or a thumb-sized knob) fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high speed for about 20-30 seconds or until very smooth.
2. Strain mixture through a nut milk bag and squeeze out as much milk as possible. Serve over ice or heat on low flame for a hot chai.
Cold Brew Coffee
makes almost 2 cups
1/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
1 1/2 cups water
1. Combine coffee grinds and water and let sit overnight.
2. Strain through a coffee filter and keep refrigerated. You can also freeze them into ice cubes and add to almond milk.
1 cup almond chai
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
Mix and pour over ice.