Blended spices conjure an essence of India.

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You don’t need a store- bought brand or a multinational chain cafe to tell you how to have your chai tea. The name itself reflects its ignorance to origin, as it’s just plain chai on the Indian Subcontinent. But until you can experience a chaiwalla in person, your best bet is to make your own blend. It’s cheaper, better for the environment, and allows you to have control over the final flavor.

The basics of the real thing depend greatly on family traditions and region, but a consensus of spices in Masala Chai are cardamom, clove, black pepper, cinnamon, anise and ginger. Sweetened or unsweetened, caffeinated or decaf, medicated or not, it’s all up to you! Make this tea to sip while you work, read, or are getting over an afternoon slump.

This method is adapted from The Hathi Cooks.

DIY chai tea

Makes 2 cups, estimated 7 mg THC per cup

  • Water
  • 6-7 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 3-4 black peppercorns
  • 5-6 caraway seeds
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 spent vanilla bean (use the filling for something else!)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder or a few slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cannabis glycerin tincture*

In a dry saucepan, toast up the spices lightly until they become fragrant. You can either lightly crush them with a wooden muddler, or leave whole for less intense flavors. Pour over 2 cups of water and add the powdered spices and vanilla pod. Boil for 5-10 minutes.

To show all of the beautiful spices, you can use a French press to serve it tableside, and its screen will help you filter out the solids so you can have the tea. Regardless of pressing or just serving direct from the saucepan, strain before adding the glycerin tincture so none of it sticks to the solids.

If you want to caffeinate your mix, try adding some strong black tea to the boiling phase or even in the French press before serving. To make it creamy, swap out the water for milk and simmer more carefully. Then you can add some hot water to dilute if you like. Vegan milks work great here too.

As easy to whip up as it is to throw back, chai tea with cannabis allows you to taste the spices that drove trade in the Old World in the way they are consumed in one of the world’s most ancient societies, where it’s rumored that cannabis was also born. Having Masala Chai with a snack or as its own hit of freshness is the wow factor you were missing in your beverage rotation.

*Cannabis glycerin tincture

Decarboxylate 3.5 grams of finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees for 20 minutes in a tightly sealed, oven-safe container. Put cannabis in lidded mason jar or vacuum-sealed bag with ½ cup vegetable glycerin. Heat in water bath just under boiling for at least 1 hour. Strain and chill to use in recipes.