Caffeine-Free Chai Recipe: A Family Favorite

I love cold weather in December.  The chilly end of year days are full of magic, the promise of holiday goodness and the possibility of wonder land snow.  Even the bulk of sweaters and coats feels exciting because they are all new, unpacked from months of hibernation. 

January, however, is a different story.  By the time I reach these end of January days, the novelty of freezing temperatures has worn off.  The pile of boots and coats by the door is just messy.  The trees look dead, not magical.  There hasn’t been snow in weeks, only a bitter wind.  I’m ready for spring.

Unfortunately, I have some cold weeks ahead of me before I will be welcoming the sun and the first flowers of spring.  Instead of pining away for warmer days though, I am trying to make the best of the days ahead.  At the top of my Winter Cheer list is a good steaming cup of Chai.

My favorite Chai recipe is one I adapted from my well loved copy of Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.   It is filled with warming spices and comfort.  It is also caffeine-free and mild enough to be enjoyed by the whole family on a winter day.  My kids have been requesting it almost daily, and as long as I get a cup too, I am happy to oblige!

Caffeine-Free Chai

(Printable Recipe)


4 cups of water
10 whole cloves
12 whole cardamom pods
12 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
4 slices of ginger, 1/4 inch thick
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup of milk (soy milk works well too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
honey or agave nectar to taste


In a large saucepan, combine spices, ginger, and water.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 45 minutes then add milk.  Increase heat and bring to a boil again.  When mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and strain off the spices and ginger pieces.  Stir in vanilla, and sweetner as desired.  

Makes approximately 4 servings.

How are you staying warm (and happy) these winter days

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