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Björn’s Honey Masala Chai


Cup of Honey Masala Chai with whole green cardamom pods and fennel blossoms on a wooden background

Björn's Homemade Honey Masala Chai is a comforting tea inspired by India's traditional spiced tea. "Chai" means tea in Hindi, and "masala" refers to a blend of spices, so Masala Chai is an Indian-style spiced tea. This version is a great way to use up the honey at the bottom of the jar.


2 cups filtered water
3-4 black tea bags, non-flavored, such as PG Tips, Twinings English or Irish Breakfast or Ceylon (use 4 bags if it’s a weaker variety like Ceylon)
1½ to 2 tablespoons Björn’s Colorado Traditional Honey (or any variety you need to use up, use more if you like a sweeter Chai)
1 tablespoon of cane sugar (optional, only use if you want a sweeter Chai)
⅓ cup very roughly sliced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
1 whole cinnamon stick
2-3 tablespoons whole green cardamom pods (I use Diaspora's Single-Origin Baraka Cardamom pods which are the best I've ever had)
1-2 whole allspice berries
2-4 whole, black, pink, and white peppercorns
2-4 whole cloves
3/4 to 1 cup of milk, I prefer whole but, any variety will work, even almond or oat

Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a sturdy pot; I prefer a cast-iron one, but metal will work too.

Add tea bags to boiling water and bring water back to a boil. Then add all the honey, sugar (if using), and spices. Let spices and honey simmer in tea for 5-8 minutes, depending on how much spice you like. Boil longer for more spice flavor.

Take the pot and pour the tea through a kitchen strainer (fine mesh) into a measuring cup or pitcher. Then pour the tea back into the pot. Bring tea back to a boil, careful not to let it overboil, and let simmer for 3 more min. Once the tea is finished, use a measuring cup or pitcher to serve, pouring into the mug from as high as you dare to create a bit of foam on top.

Honey Masala Chai can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and serve. Stored in a mason jar with a lid or covering, it keeps up to 5 days and maybe more with all the spices and honey, which are preservatives. You can up the amount of spices if you like more flavor. Also, if you don't have whole spices, it's possible to use ground ones, but you'll want to use cheesecloth to strain the tea, so you don't get all the spice grit in your final product. 

Note: The history of Masala Chai is important because the origin of the tea is based on Indian resistance to British colonial rule. One of the best and most comprehensive articles I've read about is from Leena Trivedi-Grenier on the Epicurious website. You can read it here

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