The Ultimate Yogi Tea Recipe Post


’Tis the season for a nice hot cup of Yogi Tea.  Actually it is alway the season for homemade Yogi Tea. What is Yogi Tea? Basically it’s like chai but with more emphasis on the yummy spices and less on the tea. It’s a recipe given by Yogi Bhajan when he first came to America in the late 60's. He taught that it is a powerful tonic for cleansing the body and keeping the immune system strong…and indeed it is! Plus it works like internal central heating in the cold season.

He tells a story that once, when he was in the army, he was in charge of a small platoon out on an extended training exercise. All of the surrounding platoons began to fall ill with a serious bug. He instructed his men to fast, and only drink Yogi Tea. They were the only platoon that weathered the illness spell and remained healthy.

The five spice components are cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, black pepper, and fresh ginger. To this is later added black tea and some sort of milk. Yogi Bhajan said that the caffeinated tea was not optional as it’s important for stimulating the digestion and the immune system. Also the milk is important to pad the stomach from all the intense spices, though your non-dairy preference will suffice (I like oat or hemp milk personally). A little honey or sweetener of choice is optional but definitely makes it tastier.

So here’s the full recipe:

Basic Yogi Tea Recipe

1L Version

  • 800mL Water
  • ~5 Slices of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 Tbsp. (~12) Green cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp. (~6-7) Cloves
  • 1-2 Cinnamon stick
  • 5-10 Black peppercorns
  • 0.5-1 Black tea bags
  • 200mL Milk (dairy, oat, hemp…)
  • (Optional) Honey (or preferred sweetener) to taste

5L Version

  • 4L Water
  • 10-20 Slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. Green cardamoms
  • 2 tsp. Cloves
  • ~5 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp. Black peppercorns
  • 1-3 Black tea bags
  • 1L Milk (dairy, oat, hemp…)
  • (Optional) Honey (or preferred sweetener) to taste


  1. Boil the water and add all the spices (i.e. everything except the tea, milk and honey).
  2. Boil for 25-30 min (longer is ok too). Keep the lid on to save energy and keep the aromatic oils in
  3. Add the black tea and let steep for a few minutes
  4. (Optional) Meanwhile crush the (now soft) cardamoms with a spoon to release their flavour
  5. Add the milk and continue to heat until just under boiling
  6. Serve and add sweetener as desired


  • The quantities are all very flexible. Experiment away but keep in mind that too much clove makes it bitter. Too much black pepper makes it sharp. Too much ginger makes it a “stiff drink” (not always a bad thing!). Too much cinnamon is impossible :)
  • But…when scaling up beyond 5L, say to 10L, don’t double the ingredients…too strong!  1.5x maybe…
  • A gentle boil is fine but make sure it’s bubbling. Below 100˚C some of the flavours don’t come through.
  • If you boil for a while, especially with the lid off, you might need to top up the water. 
  • Best to leave the lid on both for the above reason and the fact that it keeps the aromatic oils in
  • You can add more ginger if you want to make it “stronger”.
  • You needn’t peel the ginger ahead of time unless the skin is particularly dirty. Just slice and toss in the pot
  • To save storage room, you can leave the milk out and keep the brew in bottles in the fridge. Then simply add milk whenever you heat up a cup to drink.
  • For a more intense cardamom flavour, pre-crush them with a rolling pin
  • For a really intense flavour, after boiling, turn off the stove and leave overnight. Optionally you can hold off on the black tea until the next morning to keep it from getting too bitter. 
  • If you want a naturally sweeter Yogi Tea, try doubling up on the cinnamon. If you have nice cinnamon you’ll have a hard time believing that you didn’t add sugar.


Below are a few fun variations…

Quick Cup Version

  • 1 cup Water
  • 2-3 Slices of fresh ginger
  • 5-7 Green cardamoms
  • 3-4 Cloves
  • 1/2 Cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 Black peppercorns
  • Black tea to taste
  • Milk to taste (dairy, oat, hemp…)
  • (Optional) Honey (or preferred sweetener) to taste

Directions: Boil for 15 minutes or so adding the black tea at the end. Then add milk.


If you have a high powered blender, whizz up your yogi tea after heating it up (with the milk added). Pour it into a tall glass. The milk, having partly frothed, will separate to the top…instant Yogichino! 

Rustic Yogi Tea

Get some black cardamoms and add a few of these in place of some (but not all) of the green ones. Adds a nice smokey flavour.

Extra Special Occasion Yogi Tea

Add a vanilla pod or essence and some star anise. Nutmeg or cocoa sprinkles on Yogichino’s is a nice touch as well.

Summertime Iced Yoga Tea

  1. Boil up the Yogi Tea as usual but don't add the milk
  2. Strain it, and add sweetener
  3. Let it cool and place it in the refrigerator
  4. Serve it over ice on a hot Summer's day with an optional dash of milk or cream

Yogi Tea Pop

Same as above but brew it double strength, adding even more ginger if desired. Then, serve it diluted 50-50 with sparkling water to add some fizz. 

Yogi Tea Ice Cream Floats (the best for last!)

  1. Make Yogi Tea Pop, leaving out the ice
  2. Add a scoop of your favourite (vanilla) ice cream. (Vegan Londoner’s check out Hemp & Williams hemp ice cream, or UK’ers, Booja Booja)


That's it for now. I'll add to this list as I think of / invent new ideas. Feel free to drop me a line with your own suggestions...

Hari Karamrecipes, health, foodComment