Saturday, January 2, 2010

"KukiChai" -- A Spiced Green Tea Chai Blend and "Simple Saturday Sipper"

I was craving chai and decided to make a blend using the kukicha tea I have been drinking lately. Kukicha or "twig tea" is a Japanese green tea blend where the twigs, stems and stalks of the green tea plant are slow roasted repeatedly, giving it a slightly earthy, roasted flavor. It is considered to be very balancing to the system and to contain antioxidants. (I have made and posted a couple of other drinks with it, see here and here). The result was this tasty "KukiChai" a perfect spiced tea blend and "Simple Saturday Sipper" served warm with almond milk. Haven't tried kukicha? I buy mine at Whole Foods or my local natural foods store. If you can't find it, any roasted green tea will work.

"KukiChai" Tea
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 3 cups plain or 6 with milk)

3 cups water
2 star anise
6 green cardamon pods crushed and split open
10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks broken into pieces
8 white peppercorns
5 whole allspice
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp powdered ginger or 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
1 tsp dried orange peel
4 bags kukicha or other green tea
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp honey

Bring water to a boil and add all spices, boiling for 2 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Return spiced water to just at a boil, add tea bags, remove pan from heat and simmer about 4 minutes. Strain out the spices and tea bags then add vanilla and honey.

When ready to drink, get your favorite cup or glass, add the tea base to the warm milk of your choice (I used an unsweetened almond milk). Proportion milk to your taste (for this I did half chai to 1/2 almond milk). To make iced chai, cool chai tea mixture after adding vanilla and honey and add to a glass of iced milk of your choice.

Notes/Results: It hit the spot perfectly. Although chai is usually made with black tea, the roasty flavor of the green kukicha tea pairs wonderfully with the spices. I find bruising or crushing the hard spices slightly in a mortar and pestle (or in a ziploc with a rolling pin!), before boiling them helps add the most flavor. As I am avoiding dairy as much as possible currently, I used an unsweetened almond milk for my chai and the honey lightly sweetened the blend. I loved it hot, but saved a cup to try over ice and it was equally as good. You can play around with the spices and amounts adding more or less depending on personal taste. I will make this again.

Happy Saturday!


  1. Oh ur drinks are lovely Deb-i have been wanting to leave a note about the muddlers -u get a few cute ones for hot chocolate too na?it would be great if yes coz i love hot chocolate with marshmellows and i think i should begin to make my own now...
    Ur chai pics are so so good and pic perfect-what camera do u shoot with i wanna ask,though am begining to sound like am taking a survey now.

  2. I love the idea of making your own chai. I always have almond milk on hand (my favorite milk-like drink!) and I will definitely be picking up some kukicha(?) at Whole Foods. Awesome as always.

  3. Yum! We call this Yogi tea here.. or maybe that is just my family..
    Looks totally delish, and your photos are fantastic! It is minus 18 here, pass me a cup?

  4. Thanks for this. I tried a chai tea that I loved once, and have never been able to find the perfect blend again. I'll have to try to make my own!

  5. I just stopped by to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope you have continued health and happiness in 2010. I'll be home next week and hopefully things will return to normal. Have a great weekend.

  6. yum and I love the cup you had this in :)

  7. I love chai tea, so I'm sure this one is very tasty! I'm getting pretty curious about almond milk. I've seen a lot of foodies talking about it and I've read that it is lower in calories. Now I'm wondering if it is higher in protein. I'm looking forward to checking it out!

  8. I have not tried it, but it sounds so good, especially with the almond milk!!! Perfect sipper for today. (I am snowed's beautiful out there...from inside!) ;) Have a good Saturday, Deb.

  9. This tea looks so good! and I have all of the ingredients at home to make it, which is even better! Happy Saturday!

  10. looks great oh and love the tea cups Deb how do I send it over to you, whats your email again so sorry


  11. Although I'm not much of a tea drinker, this certainly looks like it would hit the spot.

  12. A lovely drink. I've bought some chai bags and enjoy a spicy cup with a splash of ff half and half and some honey. The almond milk sounds like it would be a delicious addition.

  13. This sounds so spicy and comforting! With all this cold weather around here I am fully addicted to warm drinks. One must be in the hand at all times and my nerves thank you for the non-coffee option. :)

  14. Vanillastrawberryfields-you may be thinking of Natashya with the muddlers since she just posted about them & I only have one--for cold drinks. For my pictures I just use a simple point & shoot (from Casio) but I have some photography lights that help with the clarity I think.

    Joanne--almond milk rocks. Yes it is kukicha tea--hope you can find it--mine is by Eden Organic and that you like it.

    Natashya--there is a brand called Yogi Tea here that makes a lot of different teas.

    Pam--making your own is the way to go. I often make a batch of the concentrate and keep it in the fridge.

    Mary--Happy New Year to you too!

    Kat--thanks! We both love our blue and white don't we?!

    LeaAnn--thank you!

    Kim--not sure of the exact counts but I am pretty sure regular milk has more protein than almond milk but it is still a great alternative to dairy.

    girlichef--Chai is one of my favorite drinks and perfect for a snowy day. Enjoy the beauty of your snow!

    Fresh, Local & Best--I hope you like it! ;-)

    Megan--you actually end up tasting more spice than tea in this one so it is good for non-tea drinkers.

    Arlene--Thanks! Almond milk is great to try if you want less calories or dairy.

  15. Lori--you are welcome--it is a great alternative to coffee--hope you enjoy it! ;-)

  16. I really love chai. This sounds delicious with 'twig' tea. I will be looking out for it here.


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