Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea


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Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus TeaThe warmly scented and fragrant flavors of chai – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom – bring this citrusy, bright tea alive.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

Chai-flavored beverages are so comforting. Something about cinnamon, ginger, and cloves just draw me in.

Those spices really speak to me and I’m tempted to chug massive quantities.

I can’t buy chai lattes when I’m out because I down them way too fast and I’d go broke, so I created a chai-flavored citrus tea at home. Full of chai spices, oranges, lemons and white tea.

It can be served this warm, like a hot apple cider that’s been mulling and simmering on the stovetop with cinnamon and spices. Or you can serve it chilled for a nice cool glass of citrusy refreshment.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

In a large kettle, I combined one half-gallon of pineapple-mango juice (or try orange juice or lemonade), with one large orange and lemon, both thinly sliced. I added cinnamon sticks, ginger, whole cloves, and ground nutmeg. I brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat, tossed in 6 white teas bags, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes before straining and enjoying.

Season your brew with your favorite warming spices in the ratios you like. Massala chai, as it’s formally known, is more about an overall flavor profile of warming spices, which varies.  Cinnamon (sticks or ground), ginger (freshly sliced or ground), cloves (whole or ground), ground nutmeg are musts. And if you have it, cardamom; or if you’re feeling adventurous, black or white whole peppercorns.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

I used 6 cinnamon sticks, one-half inch unpeeled knob of fresh ginger, about 2 tablespoons of whole cloves, and a hearty pinch of ground nutmeg. I used whole spices because they are easy to strain or fish out and they don’t cloud the mixture as much. If you’re using ground spices, they won’t fully dissolve and you may have some cinnamon-and-ginger sediment at the bottom of your mug. There are worse problems.

I used 6 tea bags of Ginger Pear White Tea. For more chai intensity, use chai tea or rooibos.  They will turn the mixture much darker, and for photos, I stuck with white tea so the floating slices of citrus would be easily visible. Add more or less tea depending on how tea-ish versus juicy you want this. White tea is pretty mellow and I find almost impossible to overdue, but with spicier or bolder teas, add to taste.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

Allow the brew to simmer for as little as ten minutes, or as long as an hour, or more. Your house will smell amazing during the process; like making apple cider but with citrus. If you’re going for a long simmer, you may want to remove the tea bags after an appropriate steeping time so they don’t disintegrate. The longer the mixture simmers, the more robust and developed, yet smooth and married, the flavors become.

Before serving, strain the whole spices (or not). If desired, sweeten it with a little honey, sugar, vanilla stevia, or a favorite sweetener, to taste. The pineapple juice keeps it fairly sweet, but there is a pop of tartness from the lemon and a punch of spiciness from the chai spices that I prefer to cut that with a touch of sweeter.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

Whatever you don’t drink warm and fresh can be jarred and refrigerated for up to a week. Enjoy it later either chilled or reheat it gently in the microwave.

If you’re serving it cold, make as directed and chill it in the refrigerator prior to serving. If you’re in an ultimate hurry, but don’t have time to simmer and plan to serve this cold, you can pour the juice into a pitcher, add the teabags and sliced fruit, double up on the spices, stir; wait 10 minutes and serve. It’s not as flavorful as brewing it on the stovetop but in a pinch, it works.

You could also add wine or champagne for a white wine spritzer of sorts or a chai mimosa. Wow that sounds so good to me right now and I’d add a Chambord floater.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

A warm mug of this when the weather is cold and gloomy really hits the spot. It’s soothing, warming, and comforting. And it’s a nice alternative to coffee and much more exciting and flavorful than just plain ole tea.

As a bonus, it’s packed with vitamin C to keep the sickie germs at bay.

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (serve warm or cold)

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Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea

By Averie Sunshine
The warmly scented and fragrant flavors of chai - cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom - bring this citrusy, bright tea alive. Three forms of citrus are used - pineapple-mango juice, sliced oranges, and lemons. As the tea simmers on the stove like you'd simmer apple cider, it perfumes your house with a heavenly aroma but if you're pressed for time, you can skip simmering it, and simply stir everything together and serve chilled. This versatile tea can be served warm or chilled, and feel free to customize it with your preferred spices. Consider adding Citron, wine, or champagne and making an adults-only punch with it.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Inactive Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8
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  • 8 cups 1/2 gallon pineapple juice (orange juice, pineapple-orange,lemonade or favorite juice blend may be used)
  • 1 large orange, sliced into thin rounds about 1/8th-inch thick
  • 1 large lemon, sliced into thin rounds about 1/8th-inch thick
  • 6 to 8 cinnamon sticks, or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • one-half inch knob fresh ginger, or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole cloves, or 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, optional
  • 1 teaspoon white or black whole peppercorns, optional
  • 4 to 8 tea bags of chai, rooibos, or white tea (or a favorite tea; or use loose leaf tea if you have teaballs)
  • honey, stevia, sugar, or sweetener to taste, optional
  • Citron, wine, champagne, Gran Marnier, optional


  • Note - all spices should be added to taste, using more of the flavors you prefer and reducing or omitting those you don't. Using whole spices are easier to remove and strain. Ground spices will not fully dissolve and there will be some spice-sediment in the bottom of your mug. Recipe can be made in two ways; both using the stovetop and without (see last paragraph)
  • In a large kettle, add all the ingredients other than tea and optional honey/sweetener. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the tea. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for at least 10 minutes, up to 90 minutes, stirring intermittently so fruit doesn't stick. If simmering for a longer duration, remove the tea bags after an appropriate steeping time and so the bags don't disintegrate. The longer mixture simmers, the more the flavors will develop and enhance, creating a more robust drink with flavors that have married.
  • Prior to serving, strain or remove whole spices, tea bags, and serve warm. Optionally, sweeten to taste. Or, refrigerate tea and allow it to chill, and serve chilled. Store tea in the refrigerator in jarred container for up to 1 week, reheating gently in the microwave prior to serving if desired.
  • Alternate timesaver method - If you're in a rush, combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, stir, and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Flavors will not develop as much using this method because the heat brings out and unlocks their full potential, but if you're in a hurry, this is an option.
  • Optionally, serve with a favorite alcohol, either as a mixed drink or as a party punch in a big punch bowl.


Serving: 1, Calories: 211kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 166mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 34g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Favorite recipes and ways to use citrus fruits this time of year?

Do you like chai spices or chai-flavored items?

I know it’s a love-it or leave-it flavor, with very little middle ground. I’m in the love-it camp. When I was pregnant, I developed a strong aversion to it and just the smell was overwhelming and I thought I’d be turned off for it for life, but after delivery, my fondness for it returned.

And I have a six year old little chai lover. When we pass the fancy tea shops at the mall, she wants to stop and sample a dozen varieties.

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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  1. i’ve never had chai & citrus together…i usually end up drinking a vanilla chia soy…hot…to help warm me in this wisconsin cold cold weather….but your recipe with pinepple juice -which is my favorite flav of juice-lovin the sound of this combo…pinning so i will make this summer when I am ready for something cool and refreshing ;-)

    1. In the middle of the day in the afternoon, it can be in the high 60s/low 70s here right now. It’s still cold at night, but for an hour or two, it’s nice…and this hits the spot chilled. Or warmed up at night! Thanks for the pin!

  2. Such fantastic color, Averie! Chai tea is my all-time favorite tea because it’s so fall/wintery and comforting. But yours looks like a bright summer day!

  3. Love your version — so refreshing!!

    FYI, never ever simmer tea. It has to steep in very hot water. Simmering or boiling would just remove the good properties, i.e antioxidants, vitamins etc. Just thought to share :)

  4. Chai tea will always be my favorite tea ever. It reminds me of early morning college classes. I didn’t drink much coffee (yet) so I always made chai tea and brought it to 8am class – it would relax me given how tired I was trying to learn sociology that early in the morning. I feel like drinking a huge glass of this with all of the same warming flavors, would calm me down too. And gosh knows I need to unwind! These pictures are gorgeous Averie and I saw them on FG. You take shots of drinks so well! They always pop off the screen. And I’ve had that ginger pear white tea before!!!! It’s amazing. I have a few with me here at work too!

    1. It was quite the shoot…some fruit was submerged, some was above the surface of a liquid; there was reflective liquid, jars, light bouncing everywhere; the high contrast of yellow vs. dark wood. And then the way that orange/yellow food can GLOW with over-saturation in editing if you’re not careful. But I was pleased with how they ended up turning out. Novice photographers think…oh, a juice/smoothie shoot, that’ll be easy. Yeah :) I will always love coffee more, but the ginger pear white tea is good – for tea.

  5. You know I’ve been making my own tea mixes lately and chai is next on my list. All those spices and lemon are just perfect sounding. I’m not a big white tea fan, and normally don’t go for fruity, but I could be convinced.

    I like you chai mimosa idea. With a chambord soaked lemon and/or orange ring (or two)? YES!

  6. I typically don’t like chai-flavored things, but you have a way of making me want to drop everything and run into the kitchen, so I may try these. Who knows–I may change my mind! :)

  7. Chai tea is all about soft, warm, comfort, but the beautiful colour of this tea is making me yearn for spring and summer! I’ll take mine iced, please- with a hint of rooibos. :)

    1. Thanks for the Pin and I was drooling over your coffee & tea board. It was just gorgeous and I didn’t even know you had it!

  8. So I didn’t even really think I liked tea other than a sweet chai latte, but this looks so refreshing that I just want to drink up! Also the photo 3 up from the recipe–something about the way the light is hitting the drink, and the perfect bokeh background…uugggghhh, so pretty.

    1. There was so much going on photographically…there was reflective liquid & some things partially submerged, glassware that was bouncing light, the dark wood, the light yellow drink…things were either going to turn out and glow or…glare. Thankfully they worked out :)

  9. Oh, what a nice drink to have it warm on a snow day like the one we are having today! Or cold with a splash of Grand Marnier or Chambord. I agree with you on using whole spices. I think the drink is much better when it extract as much flavor from the whole spices as it needs instead of being overwhelmed with spicy flavor and cloudy look.
    Averie, I would also include in your list your horchata, great to have it cold or even warm (I tried, it tasted sooo good with cinnamon and lemon) :)

    1. Oh yes, love the horchata. I usually drink it cold but have tried it warm, too. It’s like white hot chocolate, minus the white chocolate in a way :)

    1. I love screaming!!! hot coffee. 99% of the time I make coffee at home for that reason…it’s too cold when I’m out and it’s too expensive b/c I can drink it way too fast & easily…specialty lattes are the worst. I down those things in like 2 mins!

  10. I’t so nice to have a lovely go-to drink, and it’s even nicer when that drink is pretty to look at, too! I love all the fruity, warm-spiced flavors going on in this drink – refreshing and comforting all in one sip! Fantastic!

  11. I’m LOVING this! I can totally relate to the whole going broke from buying too many chai lattes thing. :) I can’t wait to give this a try!! My bank account will be so happy. :)

    1. 99% of the time I make coffee at home b/c it’s expensive and I can drink it way too fast. Specialty lattes are the worst. I down those things in like 2 mins!

  12. Averie, I’m FLIPPING for this tea! I never would have thought on my own to combine citrus with chai, but it’s such a brilliant idea. I love cinnamon and oranges together, so this makes perfect sense! I totally agree, too–I’d be stupid broke if I bought chais every time I was out shopping, so thankfully I stock up on the tea bags and concentrate at home so I can still indulge. I SOOO want this iced right now!

    1. tea bags and concentrate = tell me more! You have buy chai concentrate? Or you make it? I have tried some chai tea (bags) that are good and some that aren’t so good. If you have faves or info about the concentrate, LMK!

  13. I love adding chai to recipes, it gives such a spicy, comforting flavor. I really like the sound of this one Averie, with the white tea, citrus flavor and spice…it sounds perfectly delicious. Especially on a day like today when we’re supposed to get a big ice storm today. Love!

  14. I like chai as long as the ginger and cloves aren’t too strong–this would be great to sip on all day over the weekend! I really like rooibos (caramel vanilla from my favorite specialty shop) and fruity white tea. I’d probably stick with white tea for this recipe too–the sunny color is so pretty. This a lovely, bright alternative to spiced cider/mulled wine…and white tea is supposed to be good for you too!

    1. It’s less juice-like than spiced cider, and a bit lighter. I do love apple cider but it can get almost too intense and juice-ey for me after a glass or two and then I have a whole kettle of it. I mean, it’s good, but it depends on my mood. This is a nice alternative for different moods. Caramel vanilla tea or a fruit white tea both sound awesome!

  15. Since I’m always at the (ice) skating rink, this sounds like the perfect thing to drink when I get home. I love how the addition of the citrus slices makes this tea “pop.” Beautiful!

  16. Although I am not a fan of chai myself, my kids all love it. This would be a great treat to make for them on a cold winter night while snuggled up watching a movie.

  17. This looks so refreshing and delicious! I love the idea of adding the chai. I love it’s spiciness! I would have enjoyed a few of these while on the beach in Aruba….which I miss badly!

    1. It’s crazy when I’m there, I still love hot coffee (and iced coffee). But they have the best (Dutch) coffee and I brew it at our place there and just love it…I’ve tried bringing bags of the coffee back to San Diego with me and brewing here, but it never tastes the same.

      And yes, would have loved one of these on the beach, too! :)

  18. It’s a total blizzard today Averie, and I can’t imagine anything I’d rather have than a hot mug of this tea. I love chai spices too and can relate to the idea of bankrupting myself on chai lattes. What a great twist to make at home!

    1. Stay warm in that blizzard. It’s been very cold for San Diego the past week and can only imagine how cold it is up there for you!

  19. I do like chai. It was really the first tea I cared to drink hot. And that drink looks so perfectly sunny and warm. Need that today as it’s gray and freezing rain.

  20. I love chai tea– I always double up on the tea bags or spices so I can have an extra spicy drink ;) I seem to be hoarding sparkling wine at the moment (completely full wine fridge, not a bad problem to have!) so this sounds like a perfect vehicle to mix some into