Rejuvenate with an invigorating cup of Rooibos Chai Tea!
This naturally caffeine-free recipe infuses the earthy goodness of Rooibos tea with warming chai spices like cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger to create a soothing and flavorful hot beverage.
With summer coming to a close and cold weather creeping in, you want this rooibos chai tea recipe in your repertoire!
This captivating fusion boasts the benefits of Rooibos (also known as red tea) with the delicate sweetness and fire-y bite of traditional spiced chai.
It’s worth noting that the term “chai” simply means “tea” in Hindi. So, “chai tea” technically means “tea tea.” However, in the context of this recipe, the “chai” part refers to enhancing Rooibos tea with an aromatic blend of warming spices.
That being said, if you are hoping for a unique tea-sipping experience, you must try this rooibos chai tea!
Keep reading to learn about this soul-soothing magical elixir.
What is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos (pronounced “ROY-boss”) is a vibrant, reddish-brown herbal tea made from the carefully harvested and dried leaves of the South African aspalathus linearis plant.
Unlike traditional teas like black, green, and white, Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, making it a popular choice for those looking to cut out caffeine.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Here are four reasons why this spiced rooibos recipe is a keeper:
- Caffeine-free chai. Naturally decaffeinated rooibos tea leaves replace the naturally caffeinated black tea leaves typically used in chai beverages, so you can say goodbye to the jitters and hello to a hot cup of tea any time of the day.
- Comfort in a cup. This simple recipe enhances the smooth, earthy flavor of Rooibos with the bold flavors of chai, creating a heartwarming infusion to unwind with one sip at a time.
- Antioxidant boost. Rooibos is packed with antioxidants that may support your overall well-being and a healthy immune system.
Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need:
- Water – The water will impact the flavor quality, so it’s best to always steep tea in filtered water with a neutral pH and a low to moderate mineral content. Avoid tap water if possible, as it tends to have flavor impurities from added chemicals.
- Whole spices – The specific whole spices used in chai vary, but for this rooibos chai recipe, I used cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and whole cloves.
- Rooibos tea tea-bags – The primary ingredient is, of course, the rooibos leaves themselves, but some varieties of rooibos tea also include flavoring agents like vanilla, dried fruit and berries, chamomile, lemongrass, mint, and other herbs and spices.
- Ground spices – You’ll also need allspice, nutmeg, and ginger to intensify the warm and cozy chai flavors. Use high quality spices for the best flavor.
- Optional sweetener – Whether you add sweetener is a matter of personal preference. It’s worth noting that some rooibos tea blends include natural sweeteners like stevia.
How to Make Rooibos Chai Tea
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make homemade rooibos chai tea:
- Heat water with the spices: Bring water, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and whole cloves to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Infuse the spices: Once boiling, reduce the heat and let the whole spices simmer for 5 minutes before removing the saucepan from the heat.
- Brew the tea: Add the teabags, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger to the saucepan. Stir gently, then place a lid on the saucepan and let the tea and spices steep for 3 minutes.
- Sweeten (optional) and serve: Pour the tea into your favorite teacup, sweeten it to taste if desired, and enjoy!
Here are a few tips to help you brew a perfect cup of caffeine-free rooibos tea:
- If you opt for steeping loose-leaf rooibos tea in a tea ball infuser, use 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of loose tea leaves per 1 cup of water.
- To prevent over-extraction and bitterness, let the water cool just below boiling (about 200°F) before submerging the tea bags. Unlike most types of tea, the water doesn’t need to be boiling.
- To extract the richest flavor, steep this tea for 5 to 7 minutes. While Rooibos Chai is generally more forgiving and less prone to bitterness, steeping for too long can lead to unpleasantly intense flavors.
Here are a few ways to customize this easy recipe:
Make it sweeter – The blend of Rooibos leaves and chai spices creates a naturally sweet flavor profile, so be sure to taste it before adding natural sweeteners to avoid overpowering the natural tastes. You can use honey, maple, date, or coconut syrup.
Mix and match spices – Feel free to mix and match the whole and ground spices listed in the recipe with other standard “chai” spices, like cardamom and star anise.
Make it a latte – To transform this recipe into a creamy rooibos chai tea latte, steam milk (or a non-dairy milk alternative) separately and layer it on top of your cup of hot tea. Be careful not to overheat the milk so it doesn’t curdle.
Fruit infusions – Try steeping fresh fruits like lemon, grapefruit, orange, apples, peaches, and blackberries directly in hot water with the rooibos tea and spices, and strain before serving. Or squeeze fresh fruit juice straight into your prepared cup of tea.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let brewed rooibos tea cool to room temperature before refrigerating it in an airtight container. Enjoy chilled or reheated within 2-3 days.
Freezing: Once the tea is completely cooled, freeze the liquid in ice cube trays. You can use the frozen tea cubes in your favorite iced beverages without diluting the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are few related questions about rooibos tea:
Is rooibos tea caffeine-free?
Yes, in contrast with traditional teas like black, white, or green, Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free and an excellent option for those sensitive to caffeine or who prefer to avoid it altogether.
What does rooibos tea taste like?
The most pronounced flavors of Rooibos tea are mellow earthiness and subtle woodiness with a touch of smooth, natural sweetness, slight nuttiness, and a hint of fruity flavor.
Can I buy ready-made rooibos chai tea?
Yes. Many reputable tea companies offer pre-packaged Rooibos Chai tea bags or loose-leaf blends already blended with chai spices and ready for brewing.
More Warm Drink Recipes
Here are a few other cozy drinks for you to try:
- Raspberry Hot Chocolate
- Ginger Tea with Mint
- Thyme Tea
- Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
- Christmas Punch
- Mulled Apple Cider
- 4 cups of water
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 peppercorns
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 tea-bags of rooibos tea
- pinch of allspice
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- maple syrup or honey to taste
- In a small saucepan, add the water, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and whole cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat.
- Add the teabags, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir gently. Cover the saucepan and let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Add some maple syrup or honey if desired.